Radioembolization is a minimally invasive procedure that treats liver cancer. Tiny glass or resin beads filled with the radioactive isotope yttrium Y-90 are injected into the blood vessels that feed a tumor. This delivers a high dose of radiation to the tumor while sparing normal tissue. It can help extend the lives of patients with inoperable tumors and improve their quality of life.
Radioembolization is used to treat tumors that were initially formed in the liver or have spread to the liver from another part of the body (colon, pancreatic, neuroendocrine).
Transarterial chemoembolization or TACE places chemotherapy and synthetic materials called embolic agents into a blood vessel feeding a cancerous tumor to cut off the tumor’s blood supply and trap the chemotherapy within the tumor. It is most often used to treat liver cancer but may also be used in patients whose cancer has spread to other areas of the body. Chemoembolization may be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with surgery, ablation, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Ablation (RFA and Microwave)
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and microwave ablation (MWA) are treatments that use image guidance to place a needle through the skin into a liver tumor.
In RFA, high-frequency electrical currents are passed through an electrode in the needle, creating a small region of heat.
In MWA, microwaves are created from the needle to create a small region of heat.
The heat destroys the liver cancer cells. RFA and MWA are effective treatment options for patients who might have difficulty with surgery or those whose tumors are less than one and a half inches in diameter. The success rate for completely eliminating small liver tumors is greater than 85 percent.