Now Available - ER Video and Scheduled In-Person Visits
Kaleida Health logo

News & Media

Gates Vascular Institute Performs First Y-90 Cancer Treatment Procedure

Updated: 4/14/2021

Minimally invasive, highly targeted liver cancer treatment a success



The interventional radiology team at Gates Vascular Institute recently completed their first Y-90 procedure, a minimally invasive procedure that combines embolization and radiation therapy to treat patients with liver cancer. 

“Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT), also known as radioembolization or Y-90, is a treatment for several different types of inoperable liver cancers,” said John McGrath, M.D., interventional radiologist at Kaleida Health and Great Lakes Medical Imaging, and part of Great Lakes Cancer Care Collaborative. “This treatment option allows us to target the cancer while sparing the surrounding healthy tissues. It is a much more focused approach than traditional chemotherapy that can impact the entire body.”

A small catheter containing glass or resin beads filled with the radioactive isotope, Y90, or yttrium90, is guided through an artery in the patient’s wrist or groin and placed directly into the liver's blood vessels that feed the tumor. This blocks the supply of blood to the cancer cells and delivers a high dose of radiation to the tumor from inside the body, minimizing effects to other parts of the body. 

Y-90 radioembolization therapy safely allows a larger dose of radiation to be used as compared to conventional radiation treatments. While the procedure is generally not a cure for liver cancer, it has been proven highly effective in improving patients’ quality of life and prolonging patients’ lives for months or years. 

Patients experience few, if any, side effects from Y90 treatment, which is performed in an outpatient setting. Most patients are discharged within four to six hours after the procedure and may resume their normal activities within one to two weeks. 

“Y-90 treatment offers additional minimally invasive treatment options to our patients with primary and secondary liver cancers,” said Christopher Nicholas, M.D., interventional radiologist at Kaleida Health and Great Lakes Medical Imaging, and part of Great Lakes Cancer Care Collaborative. “Innovations like this allow us to offer our patients better outcomes with fewer side effects.”

To learn more about Y-90 treatment at Gates Vascular Institute or to request a consultation through Great Lakes Cancer Care Collaborative, visit www.greatlakescancercare.org or call (716) 884-3000.