Reassessment of the lung dose limits for radioembolization

S. Cheenu Kappadath*, Benjamin P. Lopez, Riad Salem, Marnix G.E.H. Lam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Radioembolization, also known as selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT), is an established treatment for the management of patients with unresectable liver tumors. Advances in liver dosimetry and new knowledge about tumor dose-response relationships have helped promote the well-tolerated use of higher prescribed doses, consequently transitioning radioembolization from palliative to curative therapy. Lung dosimetry, unfortunately, has not seen the same advances in dose calculation methodology and renewed consensus in dose limits as normal liver and tumor dosimetry. Therefore, the efficacy of curative radioembolization may be compromised in patients where the current lung dose calculations unnecessarily limit the administered activity. The field is thus at a stage where a systematic review and update of lung dose limits is necessary to advance the clinical practice of radioembolization. This work summarizes the historical context and literature for origins of the current lung dose limits following radioembolization, that is, the 25-year-old, single institution, small patient cohort series that helped establish the lung shunt fraction and dose limits. Newer clinical evidence based on larger patient cohorts that challenges the historical data on lung dose limits are then discussed. We conclude by revisiting the rationale for current lung dose limits and by proposing a staged approach to advance the field of lung dosimetry and thus the practice of radioembolization as a whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1064-1075
Number of pages12
JournalNuclear Medicine Communications
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • lung
  • microspheres
  • pneumonitis
  • radiation dose
  • radioembolization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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