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Selective Internal RadioTherapy (SIRT)

'Selective Internal RadioTherapy' (SIRT), also called 'Radio-embolisation' (RE), is a method of treating malignant liver tumours.

SIRT Treatment of Liver Metastases in a Patient with Cancer

'Selective Internal RadioTherapy' (SIRT), also called 'Radio-embolisation' (RE), is a method of treating malignant liver tumours, whether those tumours originate from the liver itself (e.g. hepatocellular carcinoma or intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma), or have spread to the liver from elsewhere in the body (e.g. colon or rectal cancer, breast cancer, neuroendocrine cancer).

During the SIRT procedure, millions of 'beads', called microspheres, are injected into the artery that supplies the liver. The beads are tiny and can only be seen under a microscope. Each is smaller than the width of a human hair.

These microspheres contain a radioactive isotope which emits radiation that travels only a very short distance within the liver. Once injected into the liver, the microspheres emit radiation, which treats the tumour cells near the beads. The beads also help to cut off the blood supply to the tumours, thus starving them of oxygen.

SIRT procedure

Duration - 2 minutes and 45 seconds
This short video clip shows Dr Phil Boardman performing a SIRT procedure at Oxford University Hospitals, with commentary from Dr Boardman and Ms Jane Statham.

Teamwork and Good Communication as an Exemplar for Specialist Services

Of ten Cancer Centres commissioned by NHS England to provide this specialist service to patients with cancer, Oxford University Hospitals is one of the busiest, averaging four to eight patients treated per month.

SIRT multidisciplinary team - optimising efficiency

Duration - 2 minutes and 25 seconds
In this short video clip, Dr Ricky Sharma, Dr Phil Boardman and Ms Jane Statham discuss the importance of good communication and teamwork in providing best clinical care for patients.

The SIRT team

  • Dr Ricky Sharma
    Consultant in Clinical Oncology (Clinical Lead for the SIRT Service)
  • Dr Andrew Weaver
    Consultant in Clinical Oncology
  • Dr Phil Boardman
    Consultant in Radiology
  • Dr Suzie Anthony
    Consultant in Radiology
  • Mrs Jane Statham
    Superintendent Radiographer
  • Dr A Hallam
    Medical Physicist


Further information can be found on:

About Cancer - Cancer Research UK

Last reviewed:24 August 2023