Over 5,000 patients are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in South Africa every year.1 In over 40% of colorectal cancer patients the disease will spread to their liver and cannot be removed surgically.2 In addition, around 3,500 South African patients are diagnosed with primary liver cancer every year1 and approximately 85% of these will be inoperable.3 Patients with inoperable liver tumours often have a poor prognosis even when treated with modern systemic chemotherapy and/or biological agents.
Professor Mike Sathekge, Head of Nuclear Medicine at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, said: “Selective Internal Radiation Therapy in the form of yttrium-90 resin microspheres is an exciting innovative radiation treatment for patients with inoperable liver tumours and we are very proud to be the first hospital in South Africa to introduce this form of treatment’’
Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT), also known as radioembolisation, is a novel treatment for inoperable liver cancer that delivers high doses of radiation directly to the site of tumours. It is a minimally-invasive treatment, in which millions of radioactive microspheres (between 20-60 microns in diameter) are infused via a catheter into the liver, where they selectively target liver tumours with a dose of internal radiation up to 40 times higher than conventional radiotherapy, while sparing healthy tissue. There is a growing interest in SIRT using yttrium-90 resin microspheres for the treatment of patients with liver metastases or with primary liver cancer. There is now substantial clinical evidence in comparative studies that SIRT in the form of SIR-Spheres microspheres are an effective and well tolerated therapy for treating patients with previously treated liver metastases from colorectal cancer. There is also mounting evidence that SIRT is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for inoperable primary liver cancer.
SIR-Spheres microspheres are approved for use in Australia, the European Union (CE Mark), Switzerland, Turkey and several other countries including in Asia (e.g. India, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong) for the treatment of inoperable liver tumours.
SIR-Spheres microspheres are also full PMA-approved by the FDA and are indicated in the U.S. for the treatment of non-resectable metastatic liver tumours from primary colorectal cancer in combination with intra-hepatic artery chemotherapy using floxuridine.
A spokesperson from CANSA confirmed that the SIRT service recently launched at Steve Biko Academic Hospital for the treatment of patients with inoperable liver tumours was great news and would allow patients access to a novel therapy which has not routinely been available in South Africa until now.
Steve Biko Academic Hospital contact details:
Department of Nuclear Medicine
Booking should strictly be done by your treating oncologist following consultation.
Patient Consent form
Tel: +27 12 354 1885/2374
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