In the treatment of liver cancer, chemotherapy is often administered in general (IV) as with many other types of malignant tumor. Sometimes the chemo agents are administered directly into the liver, as close to the tumor as possible.
Chemoembolization involves injecting the chemotherapy as close as possible to tumor via a catheter, as well as a substance called “embolic agent”, a fatty substance or a solution of microscopic plastic beads. The embolic agent thickens the blood and allows the chemotherapy drug to stay connected as long as possible with cancer cells that form the tumor.
In addition, the embolic agent decreases oxygenated supply blood to the tumor, which asphyxia the cancer cells and makes them more sensitive to chemotherapy. Chemoembolization is not a popular therapeutic approach in certain countries such as United States.