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Treating and Downstaging Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the Caudate Lobe with Yttrium-90 Radioembolization

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This study was designed to determine the technical feasibility, safety, efficacy, and potential to downstage patients to within transplantation criteria when treating patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) of the caudate lobe using Y90 radioembolization.


During a 4-year period, 8 of 291 patients treated with radioembolization for unresectable HCC had disease involving the caudate lobe. All patients were followed for treatment-related clinical/biochemical toxicities, serum tumor marker response, and treatment response. Imaging response was assessed with the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) classification schemes. Pathologic response was reported as percent necrosis at explantation.


Caudate lobe radioembolization was successfully performed in all eight patients. All patients presented with both cirrhosis and portal hypertension. Half were United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) stage T3 (n = 4, 50%). Fatigue was reported in half of the patients (n = 4, 50%). One (13%) grade 3/4 bilirubin toxicity was reported. One patient (13%) showed complete tumor response by WHO criteria, and three patients (38%) showed complete response using EASL guidelines. Serum AFP decreased by more than 50% in most patients (n = 6, 75%). Four patients (50%) were UNOS downstaged from T3 to T2, three of who underwent transplantation. One specimen showed histopathologic evidence of 100% complete necrosis, and two specimens demonstrated greater than 50% necrosis.


Radioembolization with yttrium-90 appears to be a feasible, safe, and effective treatment option for patients with unresectable caudate lobe HCC. It has the potential to downstage patients to transplantation.

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Conflict of interest

Saad M. Ibrahim, Laura Kulik, Talia Baker, Robert K. Ryu, Mary F. Mulcahy, Michael Abecassis, and Robert J. Lewandowski have no conflicts of interest. Riad Salem is a consultant for MDS Nordion.

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Correspondence to Robert J. Lewandowski.

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Ibrahim, S.M., Kulik, L., Baker, T. et al. Treating and Downstaging Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the Caudate Lobe with Yttrium-90 Radioembolization. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol 35, 1094–1101 (2012).

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