A minimally invasive procedure that delivers chemotherapy directly to cancerous cells may double survival time for adults with colon cancer that has spread to the liver, according to new findings.
The technique, chemoembolization, uses a catheter inserted through a small needle puncture in the groin to deliver chemotherapy drugs to the hepatic artery leading to the tumor. After three drugs are administered, the hepatic artery is embolized, depriving the tumor of oxygen and nutrients while it is saturated with high doses of medication. Chemoembolization, says Michael C. Soulen, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, "homes in on the cancerous cells that have spread to the liver and avoids exposing the rest of the body to chemotherapy's toxic effects."
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