Chemoembolization is used to treat liver cancer. Also called TACE or transarterial chemoembolization. TACE combines the local delivery of chemotherapy with a procedure called embolization to treat cancer. Blood supply to a tumour is blocked after anticancer drugs are given in blood vessels near the tumour. Chemoembolization may be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with surgery, ablation, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It is a non-surgical and minimally invasive procedure 

Following liver cancers may be treated by chemoembolization:
  • Hepatoma (primary liver cancer)
  • Metastasis (spread) to the liver from:
    • Colon cancer
    • Carcinoid
    • Ocular melanoma
    • Sarcomas
    • Aprimary tumor in another part of the body

Tag Line

Transarterial chemoembolization or TACE combines the local delivery of chemotherapy with a procedure called embolization to treat cancer, most often of the liver.


The signs and symptoms of liver cancer tend not to be noticed until the cancer reaches an advanced stage.

Common symptoms of cancer that develops in the liver include:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen on the right side or near the right shoulder blade
  • Enlarged liver (hepatomegaly) felt as a mass under the ribs on the right side
  • Abdominal swelling (ascites) or bloating in the abdomen that develops as a mass
  • Jaundice, which appears as yellowing of the skin and eyes and occurs when the liver is not functioning properly

Other signs and symptoms of liver cancer include:

  • Weight loss not associated with changes in diet
  • Decrease in appetite or a feeling of fullness after any short eating.
  • Nausea and vomiting without any known conditions
  • Ongoing weakness or fatigue
  • Fever that is unrelated to other conditions
  • Enlarged spleen felt as a mass under the ribs on the left side



  • Liver function tests 
  • CAT scan or MRI scan of your liver 
  • Over night fasting


  • By placing a small catheter from the blood vessel in your groin into the artery that supplies blood to the liver.?- The chemotherapeutic drug(s) are then delivered through the catheter along with a blood vessel occluding agent right at the site of the tumour.
  • The anticancer drugs are attached to small beads that are injected into an artery that feeds the tumour. 
  • The beads block blood flow to the tumour as they release the drug. 
  • This allows a higher amount of drug to reach the tumour for a longer period of time, which may kill more cancer cells. 
  • It also causes fewer side effects because very little of the drug reaches other parts of the body.

Post Surgical Care

  • Medications as directed by the Doctor
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking the pain medication.
  • Resume light activity as soon as possible. (usually within a couple of days).
  • Drink at least eight glasses of fluid per day.
  • Eat regular balanced diet, Increase fluids and fibre in your diet.


Side effects called post-embolization syndrome, including pain, nausea, vomiting and fever. Some people have many side effects. Other people have few or none at all.

  • Bruising or bleeding at the catheter site
  • Hair loss
  • Lowered ability to fight off infections
  • Abnormal liver function
  • Lung infection (called pneumonia)
  • A build-up of fluid in the pleural cavity, which is the space between the lungs and the walls of the chest (called pleural effusion)
  • Blood clots in the lung (called pulmonary embolism)
  • Inflammation of the gallbladder
  • A build-up of fluid in the abdomen (called ascites)
  • A collection of pus in the place where the tumour was destroyed (called an abscess)

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