Patient information

NHS SIRT in the UK

The NHS England Commissioning through Evaluation (CtE) scheme has now closed and patients are not currently eligible to receive SIRT funded by the NHS. The data that have been collected over the past three years are currently being evaluated by NHS England to make a commissioning decision in late 2017 or early 2018. We will include all details on the website when this decision is made by NHS England. From 1st April 2017, SIRT is no longer available on the NHS for patients meeting the eligibility criteria. Individual Funding Requests can be made by a cancer specialist for patients, but there is no obligation for the NHS to fund such requests. At present, SIRT is not routinely available on the NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland, but may be accessed as part of a clinical trial or by making an application for its use under exceptional circumstances.

There are a number of ways in which cancer patients can be treated with SIRT:

NICE support for SIRT

The National Institute for Care & Health Excellence reviewed SIRT for use in patients with both liver tumours that have spread from the bowel1 and primary liver cancer2 that cannot be treated by surgery and concluded:

  • Current evidence on the safety of SIRT is adequate
  • SIRT can delay the progression of the disease
  • In some cases liver tumours shrunk sufficiently so that they could be surgically removed
  • More comparative research is needed

Click here for NICE guidance for SIRT

Other ways to access SIRT

SIRT is routinely funded by all the major health insurers in the UK. There is also a research study called FOXFIRE that is recruiting patients until 31 October 2014. The study aims to see if treatment with SIR-Spheres microspheres and chemotherapy works better than chemotherapy alone for bowel cancer that has spread to the liver.

Relatively quick and simple procedure

After a local anaesthetic is administered to the patient, a SIRT-trained interventional radiologist makes a small incision near the groin. A catheter is then guided through the artery into the liver. The SIR-Spheres microspheres are administered through this catheter. The whole procedure may take around 2-3 hours. After the procedure is completed, patients may be sent to have a scan to check the level of radioactivity of the SIR-Spheres microspheres in the liver. Patients will be monitored for several hours after the procedure. Usually patients who have received SIRT can go home later the same day or the following day and most soon resume their normal daily activities almost immediately.

Link to My SIRT Story

For more information, there is a designated patient site which can be accessed at:

1. NICE. Guidance IPG401. Last updated May 2013.
2. NICE. Guidance IPG460. July 2013.


There is a restricted access forum for all clinicians involved in the SIRT procedure to help share best practice and experiences. If you have or you would like to share your experiences or you want to find out more about the procedure and the latest clinical developments, please join our community.

Click here to join or sign-in

Patient Information

There is a designated site for SIRT patients, their families and carers called My SIRT Story.

Click here to find out more