Recent studies have shown a new, minimally invasive treatment for liver cancer is having success halting the growth of liver tumors.
Small beads are combined with anti-cancer agents then are injected into the blood vessels that feed liver tumors. The beads block off blood supply to the tumor while the chemotherapy agents attack the cancer cells.
Surgical removal of tumors is the most effective treatment for the disease, however surgery is often not possible due to the size, spread or location of the tumor. That is why Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE) is being used to treat the tumors, rather than the whole body. The treatment slows the progress of the disease but as of yet is not considered a cure.
Dr. Glenn Stambo, vascular and interventional radiologist at St. Joseph’s, recently said, “There is definitely a chance of cancer cure with this procedure beyond just palliation. The more isolated the tumor and its blood vessel feeders, the better the chance for a complete cure.”
TACE is not the only new treatment currently being tested for liver cancer treatment. An Italian study, using a type of bead that expands within the blood vessels called “HepaSphere” beads, has also shown positive results.
“Patients who still had good liver function and who had tumors in only one lobe of the liver did better with this treatment,” Dr. Maurizio Grosso, chairman of the department of radiology at Santa Croce and Carle Hospital in Cuneo, Italy, stated in a news release. “We’re hopeful that treatment with HepaSphere will be an improvement over traditional chemoembolization.”
In an additional Italian study the use of beads without chemotherapy agents added, Embozene microspheres, also showed positive results.
“One of the main benefits of Embozene microspheres is the precise, well-calibrated sizing, which match the small blood vessels that feed the tumors. The larger the particles used, the further away the embolization from the tumor and the less effective the treatment will be,” Dr. Franco Orsi, chief of interventional radiology at the European Institute of Oncology in Italy, said. “Moreover, embolization without drugs usually causes few or no post-treatment side effects, and patient can usually be discharged the next day.”