PURPOSE: To systematically review all current evidence into the dose-response relation of yttrium-90 and holmium-166 selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) in primary and secondary liver cancer.
METHODS: A standardized search was performed in PubMed (MEDLINE), Embase, and the Cochrane Library in order to identify all published articles on dose-response evaluation in SIRT. In order to limit the results, all articles that investigated SIRT in combination with other therapy modalities (such as chemotherapy) were excluded.
RSULTS: A total of 3038 records were identified of which 487 were screened based on the full text. Ultimately, 37 studies were included for narrative analysis. Meta-analysis could not be performed due to the large heterogeneity in study and reporting designs. Out of 37 studies, 30 reported a 'mean dose threshold' that needs to be achieved in order to expect a response. This threshold appears to be higher for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, 100-250 Gy) than for colorectal cancer metastases (CRC, 40-60 Gy). Reported thresholds tend to be lower for resin microspheres than when glass microspheres are used.
CONCLUSION: Although the existing evidence demonstrates a dose-response relationship in SIRT for both primary liver tumours and liver metastases, many pieces of the puzzle are still missing, hampering the definition of standardized dose thresholds. Nonetheless, most current evidence points towards a target mean dose of 100-250 Gy for HCC and 40-60 Gy for CRC. The field would greatly benefit from a reporting standard and prospective studies designed to elucidate the dose-response relation in different tumour types.