Hepatic artery embolisation for carcinoid | Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter

Hepatic artery embolisation for carcinoid

Men and women discussing carcinoid cancer

This page has information about hepatic artery embolisation for carcinoid tumours.

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Hepatic embolisation for carcinoid

Hepatic embolisation aims to block the blood supply to the carcinoid tumour in the liver. The tumour can’t survive without a blood supply. Blocking the blood supply also stops the tumour releasing its hormones into the blood system. Your doctor may recommend this treatment if

  • You have a carcinoid tumour that has spread to your liver
  • You can’t have surgery to remove the liver tumour
  • Your tumour is producing a lot of hormones
  • Other drug treatments have not controlled your carcinoid symptoms
  • You have one main tumour lump

How you have hepatic artery embolisation

Your doctor makes a small cut (incision) into your groin and gently pushes a thin tube into the main blood vessel (the femoral artery). Watching on a scan, the doctor then guides the tube into the main blood vessel of the liver, the hepatic artery. They then inject drugs into the tube, usually a drug to block the blood supply and a chemotherapy drug. After the treatment you need to stay in hospital overnight.

Side effects of hepatic embolisation

The side effects of this treatment include flu like symptoms, feeling sick, feeling hot, and pain around your liver or shoulder. The effects usually last for a couple of days. Rarely, some people have more serious side effects such as an infection, liver abscess or kidney damage.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the Treating carcinoid section.

 

 

What hepatic embolisation is

Hepatic embolisation aims to block the blood supply to the carcinoid tumour in the liver. The tumour can’t survive without a blood supply. Blocking the blood supply also stops the tumour releasing its hormones into the blood system.

 

Hepatic embolisation for carcinoid

Your doctor may recommend hepatic embolisation if

  • You have a carcinoid tumour that has spread to your liver
  • You can’t have surgery to remove the liver tumour
  • Your tumour is producing a lot of hormones
  • Other drug treatments have not controlled your carcinoid symptoms
  • There is one main tumour rather than several small ones

Hepatic embolisation can shrink carcinoid tumours in the liver to half their size in up to 6 out of 10 patients (60%). It also reduces the amount of hormones the tumour makes. It helps to control symptoms in between 7 and 9 out of 10 people (70 to 90%). You can have the same treatment again when the tumour grows back.

 

Having hepatic embolisation treatment

Your doctor injects a local anaesthetic into your groin to numb the area. Once the area is numb, they make a small cut (incision) into your groin and gently push a thin tube into the main blood vessel (the femoral artery).

Watching on a scan, the doctor then guides the tube into the main blood vessel of the liver, the hepatic artery. They then inject drugs into the tube. The drugs are usually a combination of

  • One that blocks the blood supply to the tumour (embolises it), and
  • A chemotherapy drug

After the treatment you need to stay in hospital overnight.

 

Side effects of hepatic embolisation

The side effects of hepatic embolisation include

  • Flu like symptoms
  • Feeling sick
  • Feeling hot
  • Pain around your liver (the right side of your abdomen) or shoulder

Side effects usually last for a couple of days after you’ve had the treatment. Your doctor can give you anti-sickness drugs and pain killers if you need them. Rarely, some people have more serious side effects from this treatment, for example, infection, a liver abscess or kidney damage.

This treatment is only available in some hospitals in the UK and you may have to travel to have it.

Rate this page:
Submit rating

 

Rated 4 out of 5 based on 13 votes
Rate this page
Rate this page for no comments box
Please enter feedback to continue submitting
Send feedback
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team

No Error

Updated: 16 January 2014