Chemoembolization at Sky Ridge Medical Center

Chemoembolization is a combination of local delivery of chemotherapy and a procedure called embolization to treat cancer, most often of the liver.

In chemoembolization, anti-cancer drugs are injected directly into the blood vessel feeding a cancerous tumor. In addition, synthetic material called an embolic agent is placed inside the blood vessels that supply blood to the tumor, in effect trapping the chemotherapy in the tumor.

Common Uses of Chemoembolization

Chemoembolization is most beneficial to patients whose disease is predominately limited to the liver, whether the tumor began in the liver or spread to the liver (metastasized) from another organ.

Cancers that may be treated by chemoembolization include:

  • Hepatoma or hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer)
  • Metastasis (spread) to the liver from:
    • Breast cancer
    • Carcinoid tumors and other neuroendocrine tumors
    • Colon cancer
    • Islet cell tumors of the pancreas
    • Ocular melanoma
    • Sarcomas
    • Other vascular primary tumors in the body

Some success has been demonstrated with patients whose cancer has spread to other areas of the body.

Depending on the number and type of tumors, chemoembolization may be used as the sole treatment or may be combined with other treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or radiofrequency ablation.