Sirtex's microspheres beat the standard for liver cancer

By staff writers

April 24, 2017 -- Sirtex Medical's SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres improve quality of life in primary liver cancer when compared with the standard treatment, a new study presented at the International Liver Congress 2017 found.

Patients with advanced or inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) received either SIR-Spheres microspheres or the standard treatment with sorafenib, a chemotherapy agent. The research team led by Dr. Valérie Vilgrain, PhD, from the radiology department at Beaujon Hospital, Assistance Publique -- Hôpitaux de Paris and Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité in France, found patients who usually received one or two treatments with liver-directed SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres had similar survival compared with patients who received standard twice-daily systemic treatment with sorafenib.

What's more, patients treated with SIR-Spheres had fewer severe treatment-related adverse effects and significantly better quality of life, according to results of the Sorafenib Versus Radioembolization in Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (SARAH) study.

The study enrolled 459 patients. Neither sorafenib nor SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres produced a statistically significant difference in overall survival.

But the researchers found that fewer patients treated with SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres had treatment-related side effects (76.5% versus 94.0% for sorafenib; p < 0.001), and the side effects were less severe (40.7% with grade 3 or higher side effects versus 63.0% for sorafenib, p < 0.001). Moreover, the patients treated with SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres who reported treatment-related side effects experienced a median of only five such events over the course of the SARAH study, compared with a median of 10 events in those who received sorafenib (p < 0.001).

Treatment-related symptoms such as fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, and infection also were reported less frequently and were less severe for patients receiving SIR-Spheres compared with sorafenib.

In terms of quality of life, participants filled out surveys at three-month intervals after their initial treatment. Based on their responses, patients treated with SIR-Spheres maintained their health status over the duration of the SARAH study, whereas patients receiving sorafenib reported a significant and sustained decline in quality of life, Vilgrain said.

Copyright © 2017

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