Intratumoral injection of radioactive holmium-166 microspheres in recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: Preliminary results of first use

Bakker, Rob, van Es, Robert J J, Rosenberg, AJWP, van Nimwegen, Sebastiaan A, Bastiaannet, Remco, de Jong, Hugo W A M, Nijsen, Frank, Lam, Marnix G E H


Nuclear Medicine Communications 39 (3), p. 213-221


Background Limited treatment options exist for patients with locoregional recurrences of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). In the palliative setting, a single session, minimally invasive, and relatively safe therapy is desirable. This case series illustrates the feasibility of a direct intratumoral injection of radioactive holmium-166 microspheres (166 HoMS) in patients as a palliative treatment for recurrent HNSCC. Patients and methods In this retrospective analysis, patients with already reirradiated irresectable recurrent HNSCC, for whom palliative chemotherapy was unsuccessful or impossible, were offered microbrachytherapy with 166 HoMS. The intratumoral injection was administered manually under ultrasound guidance. Parameters scored were technical feasibility (i.e. administration, leakage, and distribution), clinical response (response evaluation criteria in solid tumors 1.1), and complications (Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events 4.3). Results From 2015 to 2017, three patients were treated. None of the patients experienced adverse events; however, therapeutic effects were minimal. Technical difficulties, including precipitating of microspheres and high intratumoral pressure, resulted in suboptimal distribution of the microspheres. Conclusion Intratumoral injections with 166 HoMS are minimally invasive and relatively safe in palliation of HNSCC patients. Careful patient selection and improved administration techniques are required to provide a more effective treatment. Further investigation of this novel treatment modality should be carried out because of the absence of side effects and lack of other treatment options.