Transarterial chemoembolisation (TACE)

Innovative new treatment for liver cancer.

Small beads called microspheres are filled with a chemotherapy drug and injected into the arteries that supply blood to the liver.

Why you might need it

Transarterial chemoembolisation (TACE) is a minimally invasive procedure in which chemotherapy is given directly into the cancer in your liver, under X-ray control. At the same time the blood supply to the cancer is blocked off, which allows for a higher dose of chemotherapy drug to be used because less of the drug is able to circulate to healthy cells in the body. Cutting off the blood supply to the tumour is part of the process of causing tumour necrosis (death) of the tumour.

TACE is suitable for patients whose cancer has started in the liver (hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC) along with certain tumours which have spread to the liver eg, neuroendocrine, melanoma. The liver must be functioning well in order to cope with the chemotherapy and the 'blocking-off' of the blood supply to the cancer in the liver.

Find a Spire hospital offering this treatment

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-specialty 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.

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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

You will not need a general anaesthetic for the procedure, but local anaesthesia will be used in the groin area and you will be sedated for the duration of the procedure.

A small catheter will be inserted into an artery through a small cut in the groin area. Contrast is injected into the catheter and X-rays taken to identify the blood vessels that are supplying the tumour.

Once identified, smaller tubes (catheters) are threaded into the bloods vessels that are supplying the tumour and the chemotherapy (drug eluting beads) administered directly into the tumour.

The procedure takes approximately 90 minutes. Following the procedure you will return to the ward where you will stay overnight.

Why choose Spire?

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.

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.

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