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Selective Internal Radiotherapy Treatment (SIRT)


Selective Internal Radiotherapy Treatment (SIRT) is a type of cancer treatment that uses tiny radioactive beads. SIRT is a way of treating liver tumours with internal radiotherapy. 

SIRT is used to treat liver tumours that can’t be removed by surgery. It’s most commonly used to treat secondary tumours (metastases) in the liver from a cancer that started in the large bowel (primary bowel cancer). It may occasionally be used to treat liver secondaries from other types of cancer. SIRT can also be used to treat primary liver cancer. 

This information describes how SIRT works, how it’s given and some of the possible side effects. We hope that it answers your questions. If you have any further questions you can ask your doctor or nurse at the hospital where you are having your treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) currently gives advice about which new treatments should be available on the NHS. NICE has reviewed the use of SIRT. It found SIRT to be a safe treatment, but recommends that further monitoring and research is needed to see if it improves survival and quality of life. SIRT isn’t widely available so if it’s suitable for you, you may have to travel to another hospital to have the treatment. You may be given SIRT as part of a research trial.

Radiotherapy treatment is the use of high-energy x-rays and similar rays (such as electrons) to treat disease. It works by damaging DNA (our genetic material) in the cancer cells. 

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