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October 8, 2015 | Towards more accurate doses of radiation for liver cancer patients

radiotherapie ceatech

Researchers at List, a CEA Tech institute, reduced by half the dosimetric uncertainties for vials of yttrium-90 microspheres used in radioembolization procedures to treat liver cancer. The results were achieved under EU research project MetroMRT.

The manufacturer of yttrium-90, used in selective internal radiation therapy to treat liver cancer, indicates 3 GBq of activity for the quantity of the substance supplied in each vial—but with a dosimetric uncertainty level of 10% at the time of manufacturer calibration. This is because the resin microspheres labelled with the yttrium-90 and the heterogeneity of the resulting solution make it difficult to use traditional measurement methods effectively.

Researchers at List developed a novel procedure that consists of using a chemical reaction to completely dissolve the microspheres so that the activity in the sample can be measured with List’s usual equipment. The procedure reduced the dosimetric uncertainty to just 5%—half the original level.

Hospitals will now be able to more accurately calibrate the instruments used to measure the activity in drugs administered to patients.

List’s new chemical dissolution procedure could also be used for other therapeutic radionuclides that come in the form of labelled microspheres.