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History and development of radioembolization

an old idea with modern applications

Spyridonidis, Trifona; Spyridonidis, Johnb; Papathanasiou, Nikolaosa; Katsanos, Konstantinosb

Nuclear Medicine Communications: July 2019 - Volume 40 - Issue 7 - p 684–692
doi: 10.1097/MNM.0000000000001026

The current review documents the major hallmarks in the history and development of radioembolization, the origins of which date back to the late 1940s. Radioembolization was initially abandoned because of the increased incidence of adverse effects and lack of commercial interest; however, it regained avid interest in clinical trials and has achieved established clinical utility in the last 15 years. This review focuses on the main stations of the evolution of radioembolization, namely, initial animal and human experimental studies, production of 90Y-microspheres, development of current therapeutic agents (resin and glass spheres and labeled Lipiodol), prediction and prevention of inadvertent, extrahepatic shunt side effects, initial prospective studies, and large randomized trials till final approval from the relevant official bodies. The historical knowledge of the initial concepts of the method and the limitations encountered may pave the way toward further evolution and possible new applications.

Departments of aNuclear Medicine and PET/CT

bRadiology, University Hospital of Patras, Patras, Greece

Correspondence to Nikolaos Papathanasiou, MSc, PhD, Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT Department, University Hospital of Patras, Rio, Patras 26504, Greece Tel: +30 697 877 4871; fax: +30 261 360 4112; e-mail:

Received January 28, 2019

Received in revised form April 6, 2019

Accepted April 20, 2019

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