Chemosaturation therapy

Chemosaturation therapy is carried out by the interventional oncology service at Spire Southampton Hospital.

The interventional oncology service is lead by consultant Dr Brian Stedman. Find out more about about alternative treatments for liver cancer available at Spire Southampton Hospital on our interventional oncology service pages. For more information, or to make an appointment call the Interventional Oncology office on 023 8076 4352. 

What is Chemosaturation Therapy?

Chemosaturation therapy is a non-surgical treatment for cancer of the liver. Using X-ray guidance, an anti-cancer drug (chemotherapy) is delivered directly to the liver, whilst the blood supply to the liver is sealed off to prevent the spread of the drug to the rest of the body. It can target not only visualised tumours in the liver, but even those that are non-visualised. Once the liver has been saturated in the chemotherapy, the blood is haemofiltrated to remove as much of the chemotherapy agent as possible to minimise the associated side effects that come with conventional delivery methods of chemotherapy.  

Chemosaturation is an innovative new treatment that is carried out in only a few private hospitals in the UK. Dr Brian Stedman, Consultant Interventional Radiologist is one of the leading practitioners in Europe and the UK to provide Chemosaturation therapy (CHEMOSAT).

Together with University Hospital Southampton, Southampton is the largest European centre providing chemosaturation treatment with extensive expertise in the management of Ocular Melanoma metastatic disease.

Who is suitable for chemosaturation therapy?

Chemosaturation is suitable for patients with primary liver cancer and metastatic liver cancer (cancer that starts in another part of your body and then spreads to the liver). Your doctor will discuss with you whether you are suitable for Chemosaturation therapy. This will depend on a number of factors including (but not limited to) the stage and grade of your cancer, your age and overall health, how much cancer you have and whether it is mainly in the liver.

Chemosaturation therapy (Chemosat) in particular has been shown to prolong life in patients with ocular melanoma where the cancer has spread to the liver.*

* Delcath (2010) Delcath Phase III Trial Results Exceed Primary Endpoint Expectations [06/01/2014]

About the Chemosaturation Therapy procedure

Chemosaturation therapy also known as percutaneous hepatic perfusion (PHP) or CHEMOSAT. The procedure is carried out by Dr Brian Stedman, Consultant Interventional Oncologist in the interventional catheter suite at Spire Southampton Hospital. Dr Stedman will insert a catheter into the inferior vena cava (IVC) close to the entrance of the heart via a vein in the groin. This catheter has two small balloons on the end which will be inflated to isolate the liver’s blood supply.

Another catheter is inserted via an artery in the groin and this is placed into the artery that supplies blood to the liver. Through this catheter the chemotherapy agent (anti-cancer drug) is delivered for 30 minutes targeting all the tumours within the liver. After 30 minutes the contaminated blood from the liver is drained out of the body into a specially designed filter that removes up to 98% of the chemotherapy agent before the blood is returned back into the body. The balloons are then deflated and the catheters are removed.

The procedure lasts three to four hours and involves a large multi-disciplinary team led by Dr Stedman. Following the procedure there is a short stay on our very own intensive care unit followed by a few days stay in hospital before discharge.

How to find out more

You can find out more about chemosaturation therapy, what to expect following the procedure and the most common side effects in the CHEMOSAT patient information guide available below.

View the patient education leaflet to find out more about Chemosaturation therapy. (Chemosat)

Spire Southampton Hospital offers this treatment to self-pay patients and is also available to some insured patients on a case per case basis. If you would like any more information or are interested in this treatment then contact the Interventional Oncology office on 023 8076 4352.

Find out more about Chemosaturation Therapy (Chemosat)


Watch the information video about Chemosaturation Therapy to find out more about the procedure.

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OcuMel UK is a charity representing those affected by ocular melanoma, a cancer of the eye. This cancer can spread (metastasise) to other organs, typically the liver. Find out more about OcuMelUK.

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)