Why is the chemotherapy injected into the hepatic artery?
The normal liver gets its blood supply from two sources: the portal vein (about 70%) and the hepatic artery (30%). Primary liver cancer, also known as hepatoma or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) gets its blood exclusively from the hepatic artery. Making use of this fact, investigators have delivered chemotherapy agents selectively through the hepatic artery directly to the HCC tumor. The theoretical advantage is that higher concentrations of the agents can be delivered to the tumors without subjecting the patients to the systemic toxicity of the agents. What are the side effects and benefits of arterial chemotherapy infusion? In reality, however, much of the chemotherapeutic agents does end up in the rest of the body. Therefore, selective intra-arterial chemotherapy can cause the usual systemic (body-wide) side effects. In addition, this treatment can result in some regional side effects, such as inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), intestinal and stomach ulcers, and inflamm