INTERVENTIONAL ONCOLOGY

TACE

A minimally invasive treatment for liver cancer


What is TACE?

TransArterial ChemoEmbolization (TACE) is a minimally invasive treatment for liver cancer. It is not surgery.

TACE treats liver cancer by blocking the blood vessels that feed the tumor. Tiny beads soaked in cancer-killing medicine called chemotherapy are used to block the blood vessels. TACE kills cancer in two ways: 1) it starves the tumor of blood, and 2) it poisons the tumor with chemotherapy. TACE limits damage to the normal liver.

How is TACE done?

The clinician numbs the skin then slides a small tube through a blood vessel at the top of the thigh or wrist. Moving x-rays help guide the tube into the blood vessels in the liver that feed the tumor. Next, they inject tiny beads soaked in chemotherapy through the tube. The beads block the tumor’s blood supply. This kills the tumor over days and weeks.

TACE IN THE LIVER

Fig 1: After numbing the skin, the clinician puts a small tube into the blood vessel at the top of the thigh (shown) or wrist.

Fig 2: Using x-ray guidance, the clinician steers the small tube to the blood vessel in the liver that feeds the tumor.

Fig 3: Tiny beads soaked in chemotherapy are injected directly into the blood vessels that feed the tumor. The tumor dies over days to weeks.

What are the risks?

TACE is generally a safe procedure when done by a specialist.

POTENTIAL COMPLICATIONS

2  IN 100 PEOPLE

  • develop liver failure or infection
  • have gallbladder or stomach damage
  • incur injury to blood vessels

POTENTIAL COMPLICATIONS

1 IN  5 PEOPLE

  • experience bleeding
  • have abdominal pain
  • have a fever and/or
  • nausea

What are the alternatives?

TACE is generally a safe procedure when done by a specialist.

  • Alternative 1 No treatment The disadvantage of this is that the cancer may continue to grow.

  • Alternative 2 TARE is a similar minimally invasive, image-guided procedure where the beads deliver radiation instead of chemotherapy.

  • Alternative 3 Ablation is another minimally invasive, image-guided procedure to destroy the tumor with a wand placed through the skin.

  • Alternative 4 Surgery to cut the tumor out or to replace your liver with a transplant.

  • Alternative 5 Radiation therapy s a series of treatments to destroy the tumor with radiation beams delivered from the outside.

  • Alternative 6 Medicines to treat the cancer or help the immune system fight the cancer.

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