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A Microscopic but Mighty Approach to Treating Liver Cancer

By |2022-09-09T10:59:39-04:00July 9th, 2021|Categories: Cancer|Tags: |

For some patients with liver cancer, surgery may not be an option. CentraState now offers transarterial radioembolization (TARE), an advanced therapy that targets tumors with a high dose of focused radiation while sparing surrounding healthy tissue.

Approximately 34,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Surgery isn’t always recommended for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer. TARE is an effective, minimally invasive treatment option for certain cancer patients, including those who aren’t able to undergo a liver transplant or liver resection or have an intolerance to anesthesia.

The targeted procedure, which doesn’t require general anesthesia, is performed by board-certified interventional radiologists Seth Stein, MD, Michael D’Angelo, MD, and Theresa Aquino, MD, specialists in interventional oncology. As part of a multidisciplinary team that includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, and gastroenterologists, they determine unique cancer treatment plans for each patient. And while TARE isn’t a cure for every patient, the procedure can prolong—and greatly improve—lives of those with cancer.

“Cancer is increasingly becoming a disease that people live with,” Dr. D’Angelo says. “When we slow its progression, patients enjoy a better quality of life.”

Shrinking Cancer Tumors at the Source

During the procedure, an interventional radiologist guides a thin tube called a catheter directly to the site of the cancer tumor in the liver. Once this path is mapped, microscopic spheres containing the radioactive isotope Yttrium-90 are delivered internally to the main blood vessel supplying the tumor. Unlike external beam radiation, this radiation treatment works from the inside, delivering a highly effective dose that the physician calibrates specifically for each patient. The targeted therapy immediately begins destroying the tumor with minimal side effects while largely preserving surrounding tissue.

No sutures are needed after the procedure, and patients can go home the same day. Typically, an MRI scan is scheduled one to four months following the procedure to evaluate the response to treatment. While TARE is an effective radiation treatment on its own, it also can work in tandem with other targeted therapies, such as chemotherapy. It can even shrink cancer tumors to a size that makes them easy to remove. In addition to liver cancer, the procedure may be used to treat metastatic colorectal, pancreatic, breast, and neuroendocrine cancers, among others.

For more information about liver cancer and cancer services the Statesir Cancer Center at CentraState, visit or call 855-411-CANCER (855-411-2262)

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