Transarterial-chemoembolization (TACE) is a palliative treatment or bridging treatment for liver cancer, whether primary or metastatic. During TACE, anti-cancer drug(s) are injected directly into the artery that supplies blood to the tumor in the liver in combination with either beads, particles, other blocking agents, or other mixing agents like oil (lipiodol), to block off (embolize) the blood supply to the tumor. Therefore, TACE is a combination of local delivery of chemotherapy and a procedure to block of the blood supply to the tumor and trap the chemotherapy in the tumor. Sometimes, based on disease specifics, chemotherapy will not be used. Tumors growing in the liver receive almost all blood supply from the hepatic artery. Chemotherapy material injected into the hepatic artery in the liver reaches the tumor very directly. When the artery is blocked, nearly all of the blood supply is diverted away from the tumor, while the liver continues to be supplied by blood from the portal vein. The procedure allows much greater doses of chemotherapy than could be achieved with systemic treatment. It also allows the drugs to stay in the tumor for a longer time because the artery is blocked and no blood washes through. Side effects are decreased compared with systemic therapy.

Interventional radiology is a medical specialty that uses minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat a wide range of health problems, and it is an integral part of comprehensive patient care. The UAB Medicine interventional radiology team is a dedicated group of skilled, innovative health care professionals who are committed to providing the highest quality of care to our patients.

The group uses the latest and most advanced technology and imaging methods, including fluoroscopy, ultrasound, and CT scans, to treat tumors as well as peripheral arterial, venous, urologic, and hepatobiliary diseases. Each of our five dedicated angiography suites has the full range of imaging technology needed for complex procedures, along with the latest in patient monitoring and documentation systems. Because UAB Medicine is an academic health center, patients may be offered participation in clinical research trials, which can provide access to new techniques and treatments that are not available elsewhere in the area.

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