Chemoembolization can slow or stop tumor growth by delivering a concentrated dose of an anticancer drug directly to the liver through the hepatic artery. This procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist, a specially trained radiologist who uses minimally invasive image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases.
A catheter is placed into an artery in the groin and threaded up into the hepatic artery, which brings some of the blood to the liver. Chemotherapy drugs are put into the catheter. These are followed by other agents that partially block the hepatic artery, cutting off the blood supply to the tumor and depriving it of the oxygen it needs to survive.
For Seattle Cancer Care Alliance patients, chemoembolization is performed at University of Washington Medical Center, typically as an outpatient or overnight procedure.