Chemoembolization for Liver Cancer

As cancer research advances, doctors understand more about the intricacies of different types of cancer. With this knowledge, they create targeted therapies directed at specific cancers. Chemoembolization is one such therapy that has been shown to effectively treat certain types of liver cancer.

When liver cancer can’t be surgically removed, chemoembolization may be an effective treatment option. If you’re considering chemoembolization for liver cancer treatment, it may be helpful to understand more about this therapy. At MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, we use the latest research to offer you the most effective cancer treatments, tailored to your circumstances.

Chemoembolization: What You Should Know

Your treatment team will determine whether you might benefit from chemoembolization based on factors such as the type and stage of disease and where it’s located on your body. Here are some details:

  • What is chemoembolization? In chemoembolization, doctors use a combination of medicines to aggressively treat liver tumors. Chemotherapy medicines attack the cancer while other medicines (embolic agents) block the flow of blood. This allows for a higher dose of the chemotherapy drug to be used, because less of it is able to circulate out of the liver to the healthy cells in the body.
  • What to expect: Your doctor can tell you everything you need to know to prepare for chemoembolization. The therapy uses moderate sedation for your safety and comfort, while specialists:
    • Make a small incision on your abdomen
    • Insert a small, thin flexible tube (catheter) into your larger blood vessel in your thigh (femoral artery) using x-ray imaging for guidance
    • Guide the catheter into your blood vessels (hepatic artery) that supply the liver tumor
    • Release the medicines through the catheter
    • Remove the catheter and dress the incision site, monitoring you for the next four to six hours
  • Common chemoembolization side effects: Your treatment team will explain what side effects can occur with chemoembolization as well as what signs warrant a call to your doctor.
  • How you benefit: If you have liver cancer, chemoembolization may be a good treatment option when a liver transplant or resection surgery (to remove the cancer) is not possible. Your doctor can tell you more about whether this therapy may benefit you.

Why Choose MD Anderson Cooper for Cancer Care?

As a partner with MD Anderson Cancer Center (one of the nation’s top cancer care centers), we offer research-backed liver cancer prevention, detection, and treatment services. You’ll benefit from our:

  • Leading cancer care expertise: We offer a range of advanced technologies, therapies, and procedures for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
  • Team approach to treatment: At MD Anderson Cooper, doctors from different specialties meet regularly to weigh in on your care. This collaboration ensures you receive a treatment plan that’s personalized to your circumstances.
  • Access to clinical trials: Our specialists participate in research studies investigating new and promising cancer treatments. That means your doctor might offer an ongoing clinical trial as one of your treatment options.
  • Full range of support services: We offer pain management, behavioral therapy, and many other support services to help you during cancer treatment. Learn more about our cancer care support services.

Contact Us

To learn more about chemoembolization services available at MD Anderson Cooper or to schedule an appointment, please call 855.MDA.COOPER (855.632.2667).

Refer a Patient

If you are a doctor who wants to refer a patient to MD Anderson Cooper for chemoembolization, please call 855.MDA.COOPER (855.632.2667).