Radioembolization is a new liver cancer treatment that combines radiation therapy with blood vessel embolization, cutting off the blood supply to and irradiating the cancerous tissue. Small resin beads filled with a radioactive isotope yttrium-90, or Y-90 for short, are placed within the blood vessels that supply the tumor. These tiny beads block the blood flow to the tumor and provide a strong dose of radiation from the inside, sparing healthy surrounding tissues.
This treatment is minimally invasive and is most often used to treat certain kinds of aggressive or metastasized tumors on the liver. This procedure is not considered a cure, but it can help to significantly alleviate symptoms for patients with progressed disease. Y-90 treatment can sometimes be used in combination with other procedures like transplantation, chemotherapy, or direct surgical excision.