Transcatheter chemoembolization is used for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common liver cancer. Interventional radiologists insert drug-eluting beads containing chemotherapy directly into the tumor. While the patient is under sedation, a small catheter is guided using imaging from the entry site in the groin to the blood vessels supplying the tumor.
The interventional radiologist will use contrast dye and X-ray imaging to find the branches of the hepatic artery that are supplying blood to the tumor. Once this vessel is found, smaller catheters are inserted into the branches of the artery that are directly supplying blood to the tumor. Chemotherapy beads will then be inserted directly into the tumor. Patients usually spend one or two nights in the hospital.