The management of liver malignancies presents many challenges. Few patients with primary hepatocellular carcinoma or metastatic disease of the liver are eligible for surgery, which is the only curative therapeutic option. Because the hepatic tumor burden is often a determinant of eligibility for surgery and is a primary contributor to morbidity and mortality, an increasing number of innovative techniques based on the transarterial administration of liver-directed drug-eluting or radiation-emitting microspheres are being tested for use in cytoreductive and palliative therapy. The delivery of therapy via a transarterial route takes advantage of the fact that hepatic malignancies are primarily supplied by the hepatic artery. The early results of clinical trials are promising; the clinical effectiveness and safety of drug-eluting and yttrium-90-bearing microspheres have been demonstrated; however, further clinical investigation is needed to verify a benefit in survival. Transarterially administered gene therapy holds promise but is still in the early stages of investigation. For all transarterial therapies, the outcome depends heavily on meticulous patient selection, careful preparation and administration of therapy, and early and regular follow-up evaluations by using an interdisciplinary approach.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging