Can Cytokine Values Help in Selecting Patients for Radioembolization?

Cytokine values may help to identify patients who will benefit from yttrium-90 (Y-90) radioembolization of liver malignancies. Researchers reported their findings in Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology.

The observational study included data from 34 consecutive patients who were scheduled to be treated with radioembolization for primary or secondary liver tumors. Cytokines were measured before the radioembolization, as well as 2 hours, 3 days, and 6 weeks after the procedure. The cytokines measured were interleukin (IL)-1, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and interferon-γ.

Results indicated that IL-1 and IL-6 levels significantly changed over time, with IL-1 increasing from 0.4 pg/ml (±0.7) at baseline to 1.1 pg/ml (±1.4) 3 days after radioembolization. IL-6 rose from 16.8 pg/ml (±21.8) at baseline to 54.6 pg/ml (±78.2) 3 days after radioembolization.

The researchers observed an independent association between baseline values of IL-6 and IL-8 and liver function impairment at follow-up. The baseline values were also independently associated with decreased overall survival.

The optimal cutoff for survival and prevention of later liver dysfunction was 6.53 pg/ml for IL-6 and 60.8 pg/ml for IL-8.

Although the study was limited by the small sample size and other factors, the authors believe that IL-6 and IL-8 are biomarkers that are potential prognosticators. “The implementation of these results might help to develop an individualized, and, hence, safer, approach for radioembolization treatment,” the researchers wrote.


Seidensticker M, Powerski M, Seidensticker R, et al. Cytokines and 90Y-radioembolization: relation to liver function and overall survival. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 2017;40(8):1185-1195.