90Y resin and glass microsphere liver radioembolizations delivering lobar doses of 70 and 120 Gy, respectively, display hepatic toxicity similar to 40-Gy fractionated external-beam radiotherapy. We investigated how the lower number of glass microspheres could induce a sufficiently nonuniform dose distribution explaining this paradox. Methods: Microscale dosimetry was assessed in the realistic liver model developed by Gulec et al. but using the Russell's dose deposition kernel. A lattice of hexagonal prisms represented the hepatic lobules. Two hepatic arterial tree models-that is, a fixed-length and a variable-branches length-were used for the microsphere transport. Equal or asymmetric microsphere relative-spreading probability between 2 daughter vessels was assumed. Several 120-Gy liver simulations were performed: periodic simulations, where 1 or 6 glass microspheres were trapped in all and in only 1 of 6 portal tracts, respectively, and random simulations, where glass microsphere trapping assumed an equal probability for all the portal tracts or a variable probability depending on the successions of artery connections leading to the portal tract, both for the 2 arterial tree models. Results: For the 2 uniform simulations, all hepatic structures received at least 100 Gy. The fast decrease of the 90Y kernel as the inverse of the square of the distance r is counterbalanced by the number of contributing lobules containing microspheres that increases as r2. The random simulation with equal-spreading probability gave for the less irradiated tissue a lobule dose distribution centered around 103 Gy (full width at half maximum, 20 Gy). The distribution became significantly asymmetric with the 60%-40% relative-spreading probability, with a shift of the maximum from 103 down to 50 Gy, and about 17% of the lobules got a dose lower than 40 Gy to their different structures. Conclusion: The large nonuniform trapping produced by the microsphere transport in the arterial tree jointly with the low number of injected glass microspheres begins to explain their lower hepatic toxicity per Gray. In addition, the nonuniform trapping supports the fact that the granular aspect of 90Y PET imaging observed in patients could represent some reality and not only statistical noise.
- Hepatic toxicity
- Liver radioembolization
- Microsphere transport modeling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging