Histological Comparison of Kidney Tissue Following Radioembolization with Yttrium-90 Resin Microspheres and Embolization with Bland Microspheres

Suresh de Silva*, Simon Mackie, Peter Aslan, David Cade, Warick Delprado

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Intra-arterial brachytherapy with yttrium-90 (90Y) resin microspheres (radioembolization) is a procedure to selectively deliver high-dose radiation to tumors. The purpose of this research was to compare the radioembolic effect of 90Y-radioembolization versus the embolic effect of bland microspheres in the porcine kidney model. 

Methods: In each of six pigs, ~25–33 % of the kidney volume was embolized with 90Y resin microspheres and an equivalent number of bland microspheres in the contralateral kidney. Kidney volume was estimated visually from contrast-enhanced fluoroscopy imaging. Morphologic and histologic analysis was performed 8–9 weeks after the procedure to assess the locations of the microspheres and extent of tissue necrosis from 90Y-radioembolization and bland embolization. A semi-quantified evaluation of the non-acute peri-particle and perivascular tissue reaction was conducted. All guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. 

Results: Kidneys embolized with 90Y-radioembolization decreased in mass by 30–70 % versus the contralateral kidney embolized with bland microspheres. These kidneys showed significant necrosis/fibrosis, avascularization, and glomerular atrophy in the immediate vicinity of the 90Y resin microspheres. By contrast, glomerular changes were not observed, even with clusters of bland microspheres in afferent arterioles. Evidence of a foreign body reaction was recorded in some kidneys with bland microspheres, and subcapsular scarring/infarction only with the highest load (4.96 × 106) of bland microspheres. 

Conclusion: This study showed that radioembolization with 90Y resin microspheres produces localized necrosis/fibrosis and loss of kidney mass in a porcine kidney model. This result supports the study of 90Y resin microspheres for the localized treatment of kidney tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1743-1749
Number of pages7
JournalCardioVascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Embolization
  • Porcine kidney
  • Radioembolization
  • Selective internal radiation therapy
  • Yttrium-90 resin microspheres


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