When cancer spreads to the liver, it becomes especially difficult to treat. Surgery is not possible in all cases. Standard chemotherapy causes damage to the rest of the body. Fortunately, a new treatment option is available in select few clinics: Chemosaturation with Percutaneous Hepatic Perfusion, or CS-PHP.
What is chemosaturation?
Chemosaturation is a type of high-dose radiation therapy meant to saturate the liver with chemotherapy while minimizing radiation exposure to the rest of the body. While it does not cure the cancer, it is meant to reduce the size of the tumor or metastases in order to allow the patient to live longer and to improve their quality of life.
In the CS-PHP procedure, the blood supply to the cancerous liver is isolated while the organ receives a "chemo bath." The chemo drug is infused directly into the liver via a catheter into the artery. Blood in the veins leading out of the liver is then captured and filtered through a specially designed, double-balloon catheter to filter out the drug before the cleaned blood is returned to the body. This approach allows the drug to be delivered, at a higher dosage than usual, directly to the liver and target the cancer tumor there, but in a minimally invasive manner.
A promising new procedure
In Germany, only a few centers with specially-trained teams offer the procedure. One of the leading clinics in this procedure in the Premier Healthcare network, the Asklepios Klinik Barmbek, has been providing this treatment since 2013. The procedure is not available in the U.S. and has not received FDA approval, although it received a CE mark in 2012. Some researcher has shown that patients who received the landmark procedure survived five times longer than patients who received the best alternative care. A U.S. study found that the new treatment significantly extends the patient's life without the disease progressing.
Who is a candidate for chemosaturation?
Chemosaturation is typically indicated for patients diagnosed with hepatocellura carcinoma, eye and skin melanomas, neuro-endocrine tumors or cholangiocarcinoma (ccc-tumors), patients with liver mestastases who have not responded to other therapies, and patients where surgical removal of the tumor is not possible.
An interdisciplinary tumour board of oncologists, visceral surgeons and radiologists will carefully discuss your case and evaluate treatment options.
What does the procedure look like?
The procedure requires two hospital stays. During the first stay, the patient undergoes pre-tests and a test angiography, which usually doesn't take long. During the second stay, the patient undergoes the chemosaturation itself, which usually involves a five-day hospital stay. International patients are advised to stay in the country for several weeks to ensure adequate follow-up care.
For more information on this procedure, please look at the following patient brochures, published by the American provider of the perfusion system used in chemosaturation.
For more information on cancer treatment options such as chemosaturation in Germany, contact Premier Healthcare Germany.