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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Interventional radiology for bile duct cancer liver metastasis

interventional radiology

Interventional radiology for metastatic bile duct cancer to the liver

In some cases, bile duct cancer becomes advanced and metastasizes (spreads) to the liver. Our Interventional Radiology Program offers advanced treatments and procedures which are liver-directed or tumor-directed, including the following:

TheraSphere & SIR-Sphere: These treatments use tiny beads called microspheres to deliver radiation directly to tumors in the liver. Measuring one-third the diameter of a human hair, the tiny microspheres are embedded with a radioactive element to help kill cancer cells.

The radiation therapy is delivered to a tumor through a catheter a physician guides into the hepatic artery, the liver’s main blood vessel. Once in place, the microspheres are inserted into the catheter, where they can enter the smaller blood vessels supplying the liver tumor and block the flow of blood. Then, the microspheres emit radiation intended to destroy cancer cells in the tumor, while sparing healthy liver tissue.

Chemoembolization: With this treatment, chemotherapy drugs are delivered directly to a liver tumor. This delivery method may reduce side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, and may enhance the cancer-killing properties of the drugs.

During the procedure, chemotherapy is injected through a catheter directly into a liver tumor using image guidance. The chemotherapy drugs are mixed with 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 portion of the liver for a longer period of time, without exposing the entire body to the effect of the drugs.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA): RFA has become a major treatment method for small tumors. This technique may offer faster, more targeted cancer treatment with fewer side effects and shorter hospital stays compared with standard therapies.

During the procedure, a thin, needle-like probe is inserted through the skin and into the tumor, guiding it into place with ultrasound or CT scans. Electrical energy is then passed through the tip of the probe, which heats and is intended to kill cancer cells. RFA carries the lowest risk compared to other cancer cell ablation techniques.