Did you know that interventional radiologists—like the doctors at Precision VIR—are playing a huge role in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)? An article on Star2.com explains how radiologists are increasing survival rates at different stages of HCC. Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), a leading treatment for HCC, is traditionally recommended only for intermediate stage liver cancer according to the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer system. However, in real, everyday practice TACE often being used as the initial treatment of choice for various other stages, depending on the individual patient’s case. There are two different types of TACE treatments: conventional TACE (cTACE), which uses a chemo drug soaked sponge to block of arteries supplying the tumor, and drug-eluting bead TACE (debTACE), in which special beads filled with chemo drugs are placed to slowly release the chemotherapy and treat the tumor. When TACE is performed precisely and accurately, complete tumor necrosis, or tumor death, can be achieved in over half—even up to 80%—of cases, thus increasing survival rates in many patients.
Doctors are also looking at other kinds of embolization, such as using alcohol instead of chemotherapy drugs. However, because alcohol can affect healthy liver tissue, this procedure is limited to certain types of patients with certain types of tumors.
Ablation is another liver cancer treatment used in early stages of HCC. Compared to surgery, this treatment is cheaper, has a faster recovery, and has a lower rate of morbidity. Like TACE, another benefit of ablation is that it can be repeated since liver tumors can have a tendency to come back. During ablation, an electric current is delivered to the tumor, causing the molecules to move and create friction. The friction causes heat, and the extreme heat causes cell death in the liver tumor. There are multiple types of ablation, including RFA (radiofrequency ablation) and MWA (microwave ablation). Which type is best depends on the size of the tumor. RFA has been shown to have great results in smaller tumors and may also be combined with TACE for medium sized tumors. MWA has been shown to have positive results in larger tumors up to 5 cm.
Interventional Radiologists Treating Liver Cancer
The doctors at Precision VIR are some of the best interventional radiologists in Dallas and Fort Worth. Please call for an appointment if you have HCC and are looking for treatment options.
If you would like to find out more about radiology in the treatment of HCC, you can read the full article here.