What were we asked to look at?
TheraSphere is one form of selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) for treating hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). SIRT uses microspheres containing radioactive yttrium-90 to deliver radiation therapy directly to the cancerous tissues. The spheres are delivered via the hepatic arteries. They lodge within the tumour vasculature, releasing their radiation dose into the cancerous tissues with minimum radiation damage to healthy surrounding tissues.
SHTG will produce recommendations for NHS Scotland based on an adaptation of a NICE Technology Appraisal. The adaptation will be informed by the EUnethHTA Adaptation Toolkit. SHTG’s recommendations will take into account specific considerations for NHS Scotland, including clinical expert input.
Why is this important
TheraSphere and SIRT can be used to provide targeted radiotherapy as either a curative or palliative treatment. Patients in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have access to TheraSphere and SIRT.
Currently in Scotland, a very limited number of patients are treated using SIRT and clinicians must complete and submit individual patient treatment request forms for this intervention. This has led to variation in practice and a need to understand the value of this specialised technology. SHTG’s advice will inform the use of Therasphere and SIRT in Scotland.
The TheraSphere manufacturer (Boston Scientific), the Scottish Hepatopancreatobiliary Network, the British Liver Trust, surgeons, interventional radiologists and physicists within the NHS.