First Patients in South Korea Receive TheraSphere® Radioembolisation Treatment

26 January 2016
London, UK, 26 January 2016: BTG plc (LSE: BTG), the specialist healthcare company, today announced the first treatment of patients in South Korea with TheraSphere® – a treatment for primary liver cancer and metastatic colorectal cancer that delivers powerful radiation to tumour cells and minimises the exposure to healthy tissue.

Professor Joseph Yun Hwan Kim, Department of Radiology, Korea University Anam Hospital, Seoul, South Korea, said: "Liver cancer has a high mortality rate in Korea and the disease affects more than 15,000 people each year, especially older men in their 60s and 70s. It is fantastic news that this therapy is now available to physicians to help us treat certain patients who currently live with this condition in South Korea and may develop it in the future."

TheraSphere® is a targeted therapy that consists of millions of glass microspheres containing radioactive yttrium-90. The microspheres are about 20-30 micrometers in diameter – about a third of the width of a human hair. They are delivered directly to liver tumours through the hepatic artery via catheter. The glass microspheres flow directly into the liver tumour through its blood vessels and become permanently lodged there. Because the procedure delivers the treatment directly to the liver tumour, the radiation destroys the tumour cells with minimal impact to the surrounding normal liver tissue. The radioactive microspheres continue to deliver radiation to the tumour over the course of several weeks after treatment. TheraSphere® can also be used as a bridge to surgical removal of diseased tissue or transplantation in these patients.

James Glasgow, General Manager, BTG Asia, said: "As we continue to build on our presence in Asia, BTG is able to offer innovative healthcare solutions to the patient populations that need them most. South Korea is now the third Asian market where we have launched TheraSphere® – a new treatment option for certain individuals affected by liver cancer. There has been a high level of physician and patient interest since TheraSphere® was launched in November, and we hope that this newly available medical intervention will help many individuals affected by liver cancer in South Korea."

In South Korea, TheraSphere® is approved for the treatment of hepatic neoplasia, which includes both hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), also known as primary liver cancer, and metastatic liver cancer or cancer that has spread to the liver from another point of origin. Distributed in South Korea by BL&H, TheraSphere® is also commercially available in Hong Kong and Singapore. Over 20,000 patients worldwide have been treated with TheraSphere®.

South Korean hospitals have also begun enrolling patients in international clinical studies evaluating TheraSphere® in primary and metastatic liver cancer.

About Liver Cancer

The Asia-Pacific region accounts for up to 80% of the world's total liver cancer cases. Primary liver cancer is the 4th most common cancer among men and 6th most common cancer among women in Korea, accounting for 7.9% of all cancers diagnosed in Korea in 2010 according to National Cancer Information Center ( and has a high mortality rate.1

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.

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About BTG

BTG is a growing international specialist healthcare company bringing to market innovative products in specialist areas of medicine to better serve doctors and their patients. We have a portfolio of Interventional Medicine products to advance the treatment of liver tumours, advanced emphysema, severe blood clots and varicose veins, and Specialty Pharmaceuticals that help patients overexposed to certain medications or toxins. Inspired by patient and physician needs, BTG is investing to expand its portfolio to address some of today's most complex healthcare challenges. To learn more about BTG, please visit:

1Yoon SK, Chun HG. Status of hepatocellular carcinoma in South Korea. Chin Clin Oncol 2013;2(4):39. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2304-3865.2013.11.08