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Chemosaturation is suitable for patients with primary liver cancer and metastatic liver cancer.

Why you might need it

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 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 in particular has been shown to prolong life in patients with ocular melanoma where the cancer has spread to the liver.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-speciality surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

The procedure

Your oncologist 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 you can expect to stay a few days in hospital before you can go home.

How much does it cost?

A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

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Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.