Chemoembolization delivers chemotherapy drugs directly to a tumor, while minimizing exposure to healthy tissues. This delivery method minimizes side effects, like nausea and vomiting, and maximizes the cancer-killing properties of the drugs.
During chemoembolization, chemotherapy is injected through a catheter directly into a tumor using image guidance. The chemotherapy drugs are mixed with particles, called microspheres, which block the flow of blood to the tumor. Without a blood supply, the tumor no longer has the oxygen and nutrients it needs to grow.
Chemoembolization allows high doses of chemotherapy drugs to be targeted directly to the cancerous tissue for a longer period of time, without exposing the entire body to the effect of the drugs.
This method of chemotherapy is primarily used for the treatment of liver cancer, and may also be used for the treatment of cancers that have spread to the liver.