The Use of Microspheres for Cancer Embolization Therapy: Recent Advancements and Prospective

Nur Aisyah Nuzulia, Terry Mart, Ifty Ahmed, Yessie Widya Sari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Embolization therapy involving biomaterials has improved the therapeutic strategy for most liver cancer treatments. Developing biomaterials as embolic agents has significantly improved patients’ survival rates. Various embolic agents are present in liquid agents, foam, particulates, and particles. Some of the most applied embolic agents are microparticles, such as microspheres (3D micrometer-sized spherical particles). Microspheres with added functionalities are currently being developed for effective therapeutic embolization. Their excellent properties of high surface area and capacity for being loaded with radionuclides and alternate active or therapeutic agents provide an additional advantage to overcome limitations from traditional cancer treatments. Microspheres (non-radioactive and radioactive) have been widely used and explored for localized cancer treatment. Non-radioactive microspheres exhibit improved clinical performance as drug delivery vehicles in chemotherapy due to their controlled and sustained drug release to the target site. They offer better flow properties and are beneficial for the ease of delivery via injection procedures. In addition, radioactive microspheres have also been exploited for use as an embolic platform in internal radiotherapy as an alternative to cancer treatment. This short review summarizes the progressive development of non-radioactive and radioactive embolic microspheres, emphasizing material characteristics. The use of embolic microspheres for various modalities of therapeutic arterial embolization and their impact on therapeutic performance are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-656
Number of pages20
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2024


  • biomaterials
  • chemoembolization
  • embolic agent
  • radioembolization


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