What is TACE for liver cancer?

TACE stands for trans arterial chemoembolization

What is TACE for liver cancer? TACE stands for tran sarterial chemoembolization. This procedure combines embolization with local delivery of chemotherapy to treat cancer, most often
of the liver.

TACE is done by giving chemotherapy through the catheter directly into the artery, then plugging up the artery, so the chemotherapy can stay close to the tumor.

liver cancer
What is TACE for liver cancer?

TACE can be repeated as many times as needed. TACE procedures take 2-4 hours approximately. Some patients may be asked for further visits for the TACE treatment (3-4 weeks later) depending on the size number and location of tumors.

Transarterial chemoembolization for liver:

Chemoembolization may be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with surgery, ablation, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. TACE is a minimally invasive and non-surgical procedure performed in radiology, performed usually by an International Radiologist. TACE procedure is done with anticancer drugs to destroy cancer cells.

Chemoembolization is also for cancers that have spread or metastasize the liver, which includes;

When cancer is confined to the liver, death occurs due to liver failure caused by the growing tumor, not due to the spread of cancer throughout the body. TACE procedure is recommended here as TACE can help to prevent tumor growth, preserve liver function, and maintain a nearly normal quality of life.

Can TACE cure Liver Cancer:

TACE for liver procedure is a treatment for patients suffering from Liver cancer. TACE is not the ultimate cure of this disease. TACE procedure may improve life expectancy and quality of life of the sufferer.


Radiologist and patient consultation are very important. Your doctor will instruct you on how to prepare including any changes to your medication schedule as per your condition.

  • Patient may be advised to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or blood thinners several days prior to the
    procedure (as per patient’s condition)
  • TACE patient may also be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight before the procedure.


TACE procedure is most often performed by a specially trained Interventional radiologist in an interventional radiology suite or occasionally in the operating room. X-ray images will be taken to map the path of the blood vessels feeding the tumor.

How TACE procedure is performed?

Contrast material may be used to map the route. Patient may be given medications like Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics to prevent infection. You will be positioned on the procedure table.

A nurse or the technologist will insert an Intravenous line into a vein in your hand or arm to
administer a sedative. This procedure may use moderate sedation. Some patients may require General anesthesia.

A tiny incision is made at the site. Using X-ray guidance, a thin catheter is inserted through the skin into an artery, a large groin vessel, and advanced into the liver. The contrast material is then injected through the catheter and another series of X-rays will be taken.

catheter blood vessel wire
TaCE: Insertion of catheter into the artery

A catheter is to be removed after the procedure is complete and pressure is applied to stop any bleeding. The tiny opening in the skin is covered with the dressing. TACE procedure is usually completed in 90min. Patient can expect to stay in bed in the recovery room for 4-6 hours.

How is TACE performed?


In about 2/3rd of cases treated, TACE can stop The Chances of infection which requires
Liver tumors from growing and cause them antibiotics (being an invasive procedure)
Shrink. is less than 1,000


  • Post-embolization syndrome: which includes pain, nausea, vomiting, fever
  • Pain is the most common side effect in TACE procedure because the blood supply to
    the treated area is cut off.
  • Fatigue and loss of appetite are also common and may last 2 weeks or longer for patient went through TACE procedure. Diet Plan For Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy and radiation may help the patient to regain his/her energy back, through diet after TACE procedure.
  • Occasionally a sudden spike in fever is also seen in patient who had gone through TACE procedure.


Patient should be able to leave the hospital within 48 hours after the procedure. The recovery period of TACE procedure is shorter than other cancer treatments.

  • Patient should be able to resume his/her normal activities within a week.
  • Keep taking medicine as instructed by the Doctor.
  • For bleeding at the site, apply direct pressure and go to the nearest hospital, in case of excessive bleeding.
  • Avoid vigorous activity for a week.


If the pain suddenly changes in degree or character.

  • If patient’s fever becomes suddenly higher.
  • Do the patient notice any other unusual changes?
  • Patient feel difficulty in breathing.


During the 1st month following the procedure, patient should check in routine to let the physician know how his/her recovery is progressing.

  • Patient will return for a CT scan or MRI and blood tests to determine the size
    of treated tumor.

CT or MRI will be performed every 3 months thereafter to determine how much the tumor arises in the liver.

  • The average time before the second round of TACE is necessary between 109-14
TACE for liver cancer patients

Side effects of TACE procedure?

Parient may encounter the following risks of chemoembolization after undergoing TACE procedure;

  • Mild chemotherapy reaction
  • Liver damage
  • Infection
  • Kidney damage (especially in diabetic patients)
  • Pain, nausea, vomiting, low grade fever

Some side effects may last for many weeks.

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