Contact

What is Chemosaturation therapy?

Chemosaturation therapy is a new method of treating cancers in the liver. The concept of Chemosaturation therapy is to temporarily isolate the liver from the body’s blood circulation and deliver concentrated doses of an anti-cancer drug directly to the liver, “saturating” the entire organ. Blood leaving the liver is directed outside of the body to filters that remove most of the anti-cancer drug before returning it to the body. Because the liver is isolated from the rest of the body, the anti-cancer drug can be given at higher concentration levels than is possible in systemic chemotherapy. By delivering this drug to the entire liver, treatment is administered to potentially both visible tumours and undetected micro tumours. A patient can undergo Chemosaturation Therapy more than once, as long as your doctor feels it is appropriate. Chemosaturation therapy is carried out in our hospital and the procedure typically takes about 3-5 hours. Most patients stay in hospital after the procedure so their doctor can watch them carefully for a couple of days.

Before your procedure

In the weeks leading up to your procedure your doctor may request some tests, such as:

  • Scans of your liver and other parts of your body
  • Blood tests

These tests will help your doctor be sure you are healthy enough for the procedure and will help your doctor get ready for your procedure.

The day before your procedure, you will go to the hospital. If you take any medicines, please bring them with you.

You will go to your hospital room and get settled in for the night. Your nurse may give you medicines to help you get ready for the procedure. You will not be able to eat anything the night before your procedure.

The procedure

On the day of your procedure you will be taken to the procedure room. Your doctor will give you general anaesthesia (medicine to help you fall asleep).

You will not feel anything during the procedure.

When you are asleep, your doctor will place catheters (small plastic tubes) in your legs and in your neck.

One catheter will be used to put two small balloons around your liver to “seal off” the blood in your liver from the rest of your body.

Another catheter will be used to give you medicine during your procedure.

The concept of Chemosaturation therapy is to temporarily isolate the liver from the body’s blood circulation and deliver concentrated doses of an anti-cancer drug directly to the liver, “saturating” the entire organ. Blood leaving the liver is directed outside of the body to filters that remove most of the anti-cancer drug before returning it to the body. Because the liver is isolated from the rest of the body, the anti-cancer drug can be given at higher concentration levels than is possible in systemic chemotherapy. By delivering this drug to the entire liver, treatment is administered to potentially both visible tumours and undetected micro tumours.

 

After the procedure

The balloons around your liver and the catheters in your legs will be removed and you will be moved to a recovery room. Your doctor may leave the catheter in your neck after the procedure in case they need to give you more drugs.

Your doctor will be watching you closely after the procedure. You may feel tired and you may have an upset stomach but this should not last very long.

You will spend some time in the hospital while you recover from the procedure.

After being discharged

Following your procedure you will be monitored very closely by your medical team.

After your procedure, you will have:

  • Blood tests every 2-3 days
  • New drugs if you need them.
  • Scans after 6 weeks to monitor your cancer.

Following your procedure you will be monitored very closely by your medical team.

When to call the doctor

Be sure to call your doctor if you are concerned about any of the side effects. After your procedure, you will be in contact with your doctor and your care team often. Do not be afraid to let your doctor or nurse know if something does not feel right.

In particular, if you notice any of the following symptoms, you should contact your care team straight away.

  • fever or chills
  • a sore in your mouth
  • sore throat or cough (even a dry cough)
  • burning feeling when you go to the bathroom
  • redness, swelling, or pain
  • bruises
  • any bleeding in your gums, mouth, or nose
  • Diarrhoea
  • dark or bloody stool
  • Pain in your chest or belly that was not there before.

Patient Story - Brian Carney

"The Chemosaturation therapy has been, in my case, literally a life saver"

Brian Carney is the first patient to have had 7 chemosaturation treatments, watch the video to hear his story.