AAPM Medical Physics Practice Guideline 14.a: Yttrium-90 microsphere radioembolization

Nathan C. Busse, Muthana S.A.L. Al-Ghazi, Nadine Abi-Jaoudeh, Diane Alvarez, Ahmet S. Ayan, Erli Chen, Michael D. Chuong, William A. Dezarn, Shirin A. Enger, Stephen A. Graves, Robert F. Hobbs, Mary Ellen Jafari, S. Peter Kim, Nichole M. Maughan, Andrew M. Polemi, Jennifer R. Stickel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Radioembolization using Yttrium-90 (90Y) microspheres is widely used to treat primary and metastatic liver tumors. The present work provides minimum practice guidelines for establishing and supporting such a program. Medical physicists play a key role in patient and staff safety during these procedures. Products currently available are identified and their properties and suppliers summarized. Appropriateness for use is the domain of the treating physician. Patient work up starts with pre-treatment imaging. First, a mapping study using Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) is carried out to quantify the lung shunt fraction (LSF) and to characterize the vascular supply of the liver. An MRI, CT, or a PET-CT scan is used to obtain information on the tumor burden. The tumor volume, LSF, tumor histology, and other pertinent patient characteristics are used to decide the type and quantity of 90Y to be ordered. On the day of treatment, the appropriate dose is assayed using a dose calibrator with a calibration traceable to a national standard. In the treatment suite, the care team led by an interventional radiologist delivers the dose using real-time image guidance. The treatment suite is posted as a radioactive area during the procedure and staff wear radiation dosimeters. The treatment room, patient, and staff are surveyed post-procedure. The dose delivered to the patient is determined from the ratio of pre-treatment and residual waste exposure rate measurements. Establishing such a treatment modality is a major undertaking requiring an institutional radioactive materials license amendment complying with appropriate federal and state radiation regulations and appropriate staff training commensurate with their respective role and function in the planning and delivery of the procedure. Training, documentation, and areas for potential failure modes are identified and guidance is provided to ameliorate them.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14157
JournalJournal of applied clinical medical physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • MPPG
  • Yttrium-90
  • brachytherapy
  • hepatic tumors
  • practice guideline
  • radioembolization


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