Interventional radiology for pancreatic cancer
Since the pancreas is hidden behind other organs, treatment requires accuracy and precision. With interventional radiology, our doctors can visualize tumors in the pancreas and perform real-time image-guided interventional procedures.
We can deliver treatment directly to pancreatic tumors, take biopsies, provide palliative treatment, and monitor your response to treatment. NanoKnife, a minimally invasive interventional radiology procedure, may be an option for some pancreatic cancer patients with a tumor that is considered inoperable.
Metastatic pancreatic cancer to the liver
In some cases, pancreatic cancer becomes advanced and metastasizes (spreads) to the liver. Our Interventional Radiology Program offers advanced treatments and procedures that are liver-directed or tumor-directed, including the following:
SIR-Spheres (Y90): This innovative treatment uses 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 (Y90) 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 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 minimizes side effects, like nausea and vomiting, and maximizes 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.