Interventional oncology for liver cancer - Procedures

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The interventional oncology service at Spire Southampton Hospital offers minimally invasive treatments for liver cancer. Find out more about the treatments available below: 


Chemosaturation (CHEMOSAT) puts a high dose of a powerful anti-cancer drug directly into your liver using minimally invasive techniques. During the procedure the blood supply to the liver is sealed off using two small balloons around the liver, helping to stop the anti-cancer drug spreading to other parts of the body. The blood is then filtered using the CHEMOSAT filter to remove most of the drug before returning it to the rest of the body. This allows for a very strong local and thorough effect in the liver with limited whole body side effects.

Chemosaturation is used to treat primary liver cancer and metastatic liver cancer (cancer that starts in another part of your body and then spreads to the liver). It has proved to be particularly effective in the treatment of ocular melanoma metastatic liver cancer.

Southampton is currently the largest European centre providing chemosaturation treatment with extensive expertise in the management of ocular melanoma metastatic disease.

Read more about chemosaturation

Selective Internal Radiation Therapy – SIRT

Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) is also known as SIRTEX or Theraspheres Treatment. During the procedure very small radioactive beads are injected into the arteries that supply blood to the liver. The beads, which are smaller than the width of a human hair, are carried by the blood into the liver where the radiation treats the tumour cells.

SIRT is only suitable for patients who have malignant liver tumours (meaning that the tumour can invade and destroy nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body). These tumours may have originated from the liver itself (hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC, cholangiocarcinoma, bile duct tumour) or have spread to the liver from elsewhere in the body (e.g colon or breast cancer).

University Hospital Southampton, where the SIRT procedure is carried out, is one of ten UK centres selected to provide SIRT treatment under the current NHS commissioning through evaluation (CTE) process. For more information on CTE and the UK sites selected visit

Read more about SIRT

Transarterial Chemoembolisation – TACE

Transarterial Chemoembolisation (TACE) uses a small beads called microspheres that are filled with a chemotherapy drug. These are injected into the arteries that supply blood to the liver. Once in the liver they slow the blood and block off the blood supply to the tumour. The chemotherapy drug works over a period of around 14 days to treat the cancer cells.

TACE is used to treat cancer that has started in the liver.

Read more about transarterial chemoembolisation 

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