BTG plc, an international specialist healthcare company, today announced that the first patient in Malaysia was treated with TheraSphere™ a transarterial radioembolisation (TARE) therapy, which targets primary liver cancer and metastatic colorectal cancer with a powerful dose of radiation while minimising exposure to healthy tissue.
In Malaysia, primary liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer among men and the tenth most common cancer in the entire general population, accounting for 3.3% of all cancers diagnosed in Malaysia, with a high mortality rate.1
A multidisciplinary approach was taken with the first radioembolisation treatment of a patient with TheraSphere™ at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Medical Centre, with three physicians involved in the treatment. Dr. Hairol Azrin Othman, Consultant Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic Surgeon, said: “Radioembolisation appears to be a feasible, safe and promising approach in the treatment of choice for patients with unresectable HCC,” while his colleague Dr. Yazmin Yaacob, Consultant Interventional Radiologist, stated: “We are happy to now offer patients more options and better outcomesespecially for unresectable HCC or liver metastases”. Dr. Thanuja Mahaletchumy, Nuclear Medicine Specialist, was also part of the treating team, and added: "TheraSphere® has opened a new dimension in the targeted therapy of unresectable primary and metastatic liver cancer and the properties of these glass microspheres allow optimal dose administration to the targeted area in liver.”
TheraSphere™ glass microspheres, which are about a third of the width of a human hair, contain targeted amounts of radioactive yttrium90. The radioactive glass microspheres are delivered directly to liver tumours through the hepatic artery via a catheter, and as they penetrate the tumour via its supply of blood vessels, they become lodged and emit lethal beta radiation that is localized to the tumor tissue. TheraSphere™glass microspheres have a high specific activity so fewer microspheres need to be administered to achieve the desired dose. As a result, they have minimal embolic effect.2 This allows deeper penetration within the tumour, where the primary mechanism of action is radiation.2 A key benefit of TheraSphere™ is the ability to achieve an optimal absorbed dose in the tumour leading to improved tumour response and better patient outcomes. 3-7
James Glasgow, General Manager, BTG Asia, said: “We are delighted that TheraSphere™ transarterial radioembolisation (TARE) therapy is available in Malaysia. This medical intervention could have meaningful outcomes for certain Malaysians diagnosed with primary liver cancer or metastatic colorectal cancer. Malaysia is now the fourth country in Asia where our minimally invasive procedure is offered as an option; physicians are already treating patients with TheraSphere™ in Hong Kong, South Korea and neighbouring Singapore.”
In Malaysia, TheraSphere™ is available for the treatment of both primary liver cancer (also referred to as hepatocellular carcinoma [HCC]), and metastatic liver cancer (cancer that has spread to the liver from another point of origin). BTG is expanding its presence in Asia Pacific countries and TheraSphere™ is currently commercially available in Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. The global specialist healthcare company distributes TheraSphere™ in Malaysia through Transmedic Healthcare Sdn Bhd.
About Liver Cancer
Primary liver cancer occurs when liver cells become abnormal and grow uncontrollably, forming a tumour. The most common form of primary liver cancer is called hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It is one of the most common forms of cancer worldwide, with an estimated one million new cases diagnosed each year. Long-term infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus, which are more prevalent in Asian countries, are a common cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The liver, which continuously filters blood circulating through the body, is also susceptible to “secondary” cancers, caused when tumours in other organs such as the colon, rectum, breast, head or neck have spread to the liver. These tumours are also known as liver metastases. The liver is the most common site of metastasis in patients with colorectal cancer.
About BTG Interventional Medicine
BTG Interventional Medicine (btg-im.com) is part of BTG plc, a growing international specialist healthcare company. As medicine moves from major surgery to minor procedure, from the systemic to the local, no company endeavours to do more than BTG Interventional Medicine to help doctors in their quest to see more, reach further and treat smarter. Our growing portfolio of Interventional Medicine products is designed to advance the treatment of liver tumours, advanced emphysema, severe blood clots, and varicose veins.
TheraSphere™ 90Y glass microspheres (therasphere.com) are specifically engineered to carry far greater power than any other 90Y liver-directed cancer therapy, delivering high doses of radiation to liver tumours while sparing normal tissue. The result is a powerful, targeted and well-tolerated therapy that may lead to patients becoming eligible for curative therapies.
In the EU, Singapore, South Korea and Canada, TheraSphere™ is approved for the treatment of hepatic neoplasia. In the US, TheraSphere™ is approved under a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) for use in radiation treatment or as a neoadjuvant to surgery or transplantation in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who can have placement of appropriately positioned hepatic arterial catheters. The device is also indicated for HCC patients with partial or branch portal vein thrombosis/occlusion, when clinical evaluation warrants the treatment. The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated.
TheraSphere™ is a registered trademark of Theragenics Corporation used under license by Biocompatibles UK Ltd, a BTG International group company. BTG and the BTG roundel logo are registered trademarks of BTG International Ltd.
Media Liaison: Jonathan Kearney
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1. Ministry of Health Malaysia. National Cancer Registry Report. care.upm.edu.my/dokumen/13603_NCR2007.pdf. Last accessed September, 2016.
2. Pellerin O, et al. Cancer Biother Radiopharm 2013;28(6):459 65.
3. Riaz A, et al. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2011;79(1):163 71.
4. Mazzaferro V, et al. Hepatology 2013;57(5):1826 37.
5. Vouche M, et al. Hepatology 2014;60(1):192 201.
6. Chiesa C, et al. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 2015;42(11):1718 38.
7. Garin E, et al. J Nucl Med 2015;56(3):339 46.