Chemoembolization is a minimally invasive liver cancer treatment for patients who are not candidates for surgery.
Chemoembolization delivers a high dose of a cancer-killing drug (chemotherapy) directly to the organ, while at the same time depriving the tumor of its blood supply by blocking, or embolizing, the arteries feeding the tumor. Using imaging for guidance, the interventional radiologist threads a tiny catheter up the femoral artery in the groin into the blood vessels supplying the liver tumor. The embolic agents keep the chemotherapy drug in the tumor by blocking the flow to other areas of the body. This allows for a higher dose of chemotherapy drug to be used, as less of the drug is able to circulate to the healthy cells in the body.
This procedure can be extremely effective in treating primary liver cancers and certain metastatic liver tumors, especially when combined with other therapies. It is important to note that Chemoembolization is a palliative, not a curative, treatment.
Am I a good candidate?
Patients with primary or metastatic liver cancer might be good candidates for this procedure based on clinical presentation, laboratory data and findings on medical imaging such as CT or MRI.
What should I Expect?
The procedure lasts on average 1-2 hours. Patients can expect to be admitted to the hospital for overnight observation.
Patients typically have lower than normal energy levels for 7-10 days following the procedure. Some patients may experience mild nausea and abdominal discomfort lasting between 24-48 hours following the procedure.
Consult with your oncologist about the benefits of the Chemoembolization.
This palliative treatment has been shown to extend the life expectancy of patients with liver cancer who are not candidates for surgery, and may improve the patient’s quality of life.
Other Information: Chemoembolization works in conjunction with most other cancer treatments, providing targeted treatment to liver tumors.