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Transarterial Chemoembolistion

Transarterial Chemoembolisation (TACE)

TACE is a common form of chemotherapy for patients waiting a liver transplant and an effective palliative treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer) that cannot be operated on. TACE is, however, curative for some patients diagnosed with early stage (primary) liver disease.

The procedure is performed under a local anaesthetic.

Before the procedure patients are given antibiotics to prevent infections and medication to relieve feelings of sickness. The whole procedure usually takes one to two hours.

During the first part of the procedure chemotherapy is given directly to the liver tumour via a catheter. This means patients avoid some of the side effects of traditional chemotherapy which is administered via the blood stream and so affects the whole body. It also means that the liver is directly exposed to a high dose of powerful chemotherapy.

In a second part to the procedure the doctor embolises (or blocks) the blood supply to the tumour(s). TACE can be used many times to achieve the desired effect on the tumour(s).

Some side-effects associated with TACE include a high temperature and sweating (fever) as well as some tummy discomfort.