© 2016 Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved. AIM: To further define variables associated with increased incidences of severe toxicities following administration of yttrium-90 (90Y) microspheres. METHODS: Fifty-eight patients undergoing 79 treatments were retrospectively assessed for development of clinical and laboratory toxicity incidence following 90Y administration. Severe toxicity events were defined using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.03 and defined as grade ≥ 3. Univariate logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the effect of different factors on the incidence of severe toxicity events. Multicollinearity was assessed for all factors with P < 0.1 using Pearson correlation matrices. All factors not excluded due to multicollinearity were included in a multivariate logistic regression model for each measurement of severe toxicity. RESULTS: Severe (grade ≥ 3) toxicities occurred following 21.5% of the 79 treatments included in our analysis. The most common severe laboratory toxicities were severe alkaline phosphatase (17.7%), albumin (12.7%), and total bilirubin (10.1%) toxicities. Decreased pre-treatment albumin (OR = 26.2, P = 0.010) and increased pre-treatment international normalized ratio (INR) (OR = 17.7, P = 0.048) were associated with development of severe hepatic toxicity. Increased pre-treatment aspartate aminotransferase (AST; OR = 7.4, P = 0.025) and decreased pre-treatment hemoglobin (OR = 12.5, P = 0.025) were associated with severe albumin toxicity. Increasing pre-treatment model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score (OR = 1.8, P = 0.033) was associated with severe total bilirubin toxicity. Colorectal adenocarcinoma histology was associated with severe alkaline phosphatase toxicity (OR = 5.4, P = 0.043). CONCLUSION: Clinicians should carefully consider pre-treatment albumin, INR, AST, hemoglobin, MELD, and colorectal histology when choosing appropriate candidates for 90Y microsphere therapy.