New Treatments For Patients With Colorectal And Liver Cancer – Part 2 of 3
This nonsurgical treatment, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, implants inconsequential radioactive beads near inoperable liver tumors. Thirty of the patients were pretreated with the drug Avastin (bevacizumab) in periods ranging from less than three months to more than nine months before the radioactive beads were placed.
The liver is a garden-variety site for the spread of colorectal cancer, which, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is diagnosed in about 137000 Americans and kills about 52000 each year. Many of the liver tumors are inoperable, leaving doctors fewer choices to employee prolong patients’ lives. Avastin is commonly prescribed for colon cancer that has banquet (“metastatic” cancer) because the drug hinders the growth of new blood vessels that feed tumors.
With the yttrium-90 procedure, which has been in use at major US medical centers for more than a decade, a catheter is inserted into a diminutive incision near the groin and threaded through arteries until it reaches the hepatic artery in the liver, where millions of microbeads are released near tumor sites. These beads eject high-dose radiation directly to cancerous cells, sparing damage to healthy cells.