This is a technique whereby the interventional radiologist places a small catheter through a tiny nick in the groin directly into the artery supplying the cancer. Through the catheter, concentrated chemicals suspended in oil are delivered regionally to “flood” the cancer. Once this is performed, small particles of dried alcohol are injected to “starve” the cancer of arterial flow and help prevent the chemo-products from washing out. This procedure is being used for primary liver cancers as well as cancers which spread to the liver (metastasis).
The procedure’s major strengths include its minimally invasive approach, which results in no significant scarring after the placement of a band-aid over the skin nick. With this technique, patients do not experience the usual side effects seen with systemic chemotherapy. It is typically a painless procedure with some associated nausea.