Comparison of the Adverse Event Profile of TheraSphere® with SIR-Spheres® for the Treatment of Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Systematic Review

Joseph Ralph Kallini, Ahmed Gabr, Kristian Thorlund, Chakrapani Balijepalli, Dieter Ayres, Steve Kanters, Shanil Ebrahim, Edward Mills, Robert J. Lewandowski, Riad Salem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


To compare the safety profiles of TheraSphere® (glass) and SIR-Spheres® (resin) Y90 microspheres for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. A systematic review was conducted using the databases MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane Trials Register to identify all relevant studies. Baseline characteristics and adverse events of all grades related to gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary, and respiratory systems were collected along with commonly reported outcomes related to post-embolization syndrome. For all outcomes, data from each study were tabulated for each intervention. Adverse events and patients were summed across studies on TheraSphere® and SIR-Spheres®, respectively, and the resulting proportion of patients experiencing an outcome for both interventions was calculated. Thirty-one observational studies were included in the review. In the adverse events of all grades, more patients treated with resin microspheres reported gastric ulcers, hepatic encephalopathy, cholecystitis, hepatic failure, and pleural effusion. Patients treated with resin microspheres also had more hepatobiliary adverse events of grade 3 or higher. In the events related to post-embolization syndrome, glass microspheres exhibited a similar safety profile compared to resin microspheres. Ascites and nausea grade 3 or higher were recorded more frequently with glass microsphere treatment. Based on this review of the published literature, glass microspheres exhibit a safety profile with fewer gastrointestinal and pulmonary adverse events compared to resin microspheres in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1033-1043
Number of pages11
JournalCardiovascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Adverse event
  • HCC
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • SIR-Spheres
  • Safety
  • TheraSphere
  • Y90
  • Yttrium-90

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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