Oncology is a branch of medicine dedicated to the research, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Interventional oncology is a rapidly growing subspecialty that uses interventional radiology — minimally invasive, image-guided procedures — to enhance and improve the quality of cancer care. Driven by technological innovation, interventional oncology provides a targeted approach that can shrink and completely destroy tumors while minimizing harm to the body, avoiding many of the drawbacks of more systematic treatments. Interventional oncology is considered the “fourth pillar of cancer care” and is often performed in conjunction with medical, surgical or radiation treatments.

At Vascular and Interventional Partners, our team of board-certified, fellowship-trained doctors are experts in minimally invasive cancer care. As highly trained interventional radiologists with the credentials to match, we specialize in image-guided, minimally invasive, procedures and pride ourselves on using the latest techniques to provide an unprecedented level of patient care. Our goal is to help patients treat their cancer and get better sooner with less invasive treatment options for liver and other cancers.

Who Can Interventional Oncology Help?

Interventional oncology can be helpful in any stage of cancer care. Our team or a referring physician might recommend an interventional procedure to identify or diagnose a certain type of cancer, target and destroy cancer cells, or manage side effects caused by tumor growth and metastasization. Depending on the type of cancer and its location, interventional oncology can be a patient’s first and best treatment option, or it can be combined with chemotherapy, surgery or radiation to provide a greater therapeutic effect. Other ways that interventional oncology can help patients with liver and other cancers include:

Who Can Interventional Oncology Help?
  • Providing a treatment option for inoperable tumors
  • Palliative care and symptom relief
  • Shrinking tumors prior to surgery or other treatments
  • Minimizing harsh side effects with localized delivery
  • Treating patients who haven’t responded well to chemotherapy or radiation
  • Ideal for those who aren’t healthy enough for surgery

Interventional oncology has been used successfully for years to treat liver cancer, including hepatocellular carcinoma and metastatic tumors, but it can also help patients with lung, kidney and bone cancers. Our interventional radiologists work in collaboration with referring physicians, surgeons and oncologists to develop the most effective treatment plan for each patient, tailoring our approach to fit their unique needs.

Treatment Overview

Tumor Ablation

Tumor ablation is a cancer treatment that uses heat to shrink and destroy tumor cells. Performed by an interventional radiologist, this procedure involves using image-guided technology to insert a small probe directly into a tumor. Once in position, the probe emits thermal energy (microwaves) to kill cancer cells with minimal damage to the surrounding healthy tissues. This treatment can stop tumors from spreading or growing and is often used to treat cancer in the liver, lungs or kidneys.

Tumor ablation can be performed quickly without significant pain or downtime, allowing patients to resume their normal routine a few days after treatment. It is appropriate for those who aren’t good candidates for surgery and can alleviate some of the debilitating symptoms caused by tumor growth. Tumor ablation can also be combined with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation.

Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE)

Transarterial chemoembolization is a nonsurgical treatment for liver cancer. It works in two ways: first by delivering chemotherapy directly into the tumor, then blocking off its blood supply. This traps the drugs inside the tumor while starving it of the oxygen and nutrients needed for growth.

Transarterial chemoembolization is performed by an interventional radiologist, who makes a small incision in the groin to access the femoral artery. Using imaging technology, a catheter is inserted and guided to the hepatic artery, the main blood vessel that feeds liver tumors. Chemotherapy and embolic agents are then injected, delivering a concentrated dose of cancer-fighting drugs directly into the artery and blocking blood flow. This allows for highly targeted treatments that limit systemic exposure, as chemotherapy drugs injected into the hepatic artery reach the tumor very quickly and stay there after embolization.

Transarterial chemoembolization is most often used to treat liver cancers, such as hepatocellular carcinoma. This technique can be performed on its own or in combination with other cancer treatments, including radiation, tumor ablation or surgery. It can also be used as a palliative measure to control tumor growth or act as a “bridge therapy” to keep cancer under control while waiting for a liver transplant.

Yttrium-90 Radioembolization

Yttrium-90 radioembolization is a minimally invasive treatment for liver cancer that combines embolization and radiation therapy. It is similar to transarterial chemoembolization, but uses tiny beads filled with the radioactive isotope yttrium-90 to kill cancer cells instead of chemotherapy drugs. During treatment, imaging technology is used to thread a small catheter through the blood vessels and into the hepatic artery, where it will release thousands of tiny microspheres. These microspheres emit radiation that destroys tumor cells in the liver while blocking their blood supply, starving them of nutrients and oxygen.

This approach is highly targeted and allows for a much stronger, localized dose of radiation to be delivered into the liver, slowing down tumor growth with minimal damage to healthy tissues. Yttrium-90 radioembolization is often recommended for patients who can’t undergo surgery but can also be used to complement other cancer treatments. It is often used to slow disease progression and provide relief from uncomfortable symptoms caused by tumors.

Our Expertise

Our Expertise

Vascular and Interventional Partners is a center of excellence for interventional oncology and liver cancer treatments. Our board-certified doctors are recognized as experts in the field and work closely with referring physicians to develop effective treatment plans for even the most complex cases. As an academic group, we’re actively involved in education and research and members of professional organizations. We are proctors for radioembolization procedures and travel around the country to teach other doctors how to perform this procedure. By bringing together a renowned team of interventional radiologists and other dedicated healthcare professionals, we’re able to combine our passion and expertise to provide patients in the greater Phoenix and far beyond with the most effective minimally invasive cancer treatments available.

Contact Us

Vascular and Interventional Partners is dedicated to providing each patient with the best care possible, combining minimally invasive treatment options with a highly personalized experience. Our reputation, expertise and commitment to excellence have made us one of Phoenix, Arizona’s top providers for interventional oncology and liver cancer treatment. To learn more or schedule a consultation, contact or call us today at (480) 435-9100.

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