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Progress in treating liver cancer

Posted Feb 03 2009 1:00am
There is a treatment for liver cancer that is becoming more common and more successful. TACE or Transarterial chemoembolization (try saying that five times fast) uses tiny chemotherapy-soaked beads to choke off and kill cancerous liver tumors.

TACE is particularly helpful for those patients who can not have their tumors surgically removed whether due to location, size or growth into other areas such as blood vessels. What TACE does is use tiny beads that have been soaked in chemotherapy (a number of different agents are being tested). The surgeons insert the beads into the blood vessels. This works in two ways; first it delivers the chemotherapy to the tumor itself, secondly the beads lodge in the blood vessels and cut off the blood supply to the tumor. An additional benefit to this method a decrease in side effects from the chemotherapy as it is delivered directly to the tumor rather than the entire body.

Unfortunately, liver cancer has a high mortality rate with an average of only twenty five percent of patients alive after two years. At this time TACE is being used to slow the cancer rather than cure it but further research and improvement could lead to cures to liver cancer.

Further information about chemoembolization can be found at the website for the International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy

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