What Is Chemosaturation Therapy?

Chemosaturation Therapy or CHEMOSAT® is a new method of treating cancers in the liver. The concept of CHEMOSAT® is to temporarily isolate the liver from the body’s blood circulation and deliver concentrated doses of an anti-cancer drug directly to the liver, “saturating” the entire organ. Blood leaving the liver is directed outside of the body to filters that remove most of the anti-cancer drug before returning it to the body. Because the liver is isolated from the rest of the body, the anti-cancer drug can be given at higher concentration levels than is possible in systemic chemotherapy. By delivering this drug to the entire liver, treatment is administered to potentially both visible tumours and undetected micro tumours. A patient can undergo Chemosaturation Therapy more than once, as long as your doctor feels it is appropriate. CHEMOSAT® is carried out in a hospital, typically, the procedure takes about 3-5 hours. Most patients stay in hospital after the procedure so their doctor can watch them carefully for a couple of days.

Chemosaturation Process Isolation

1. Isolation

Chemosaturation Process Saturation

2. Saturation

Chemosaturation Process Filtration

3. Filtration

CHEMOSAT® - Frequently asked questions

CHEMOSAT® is available in an increasing number of pre-selected hospitals where specialists have been fully trained on the procedure. Please check the treatment centre section of the website for further information. Even if there is no treatment centre in your area you may be eligible to travel abroad or within your country for treatment.

CHEMOSAT® may be suitable for patients who have liver tumours where either the liver is the only site of disease or the liver is the major site of disease e.g. it may be suitable for patients who have colon cancer which has metastasised to the liver.

CHEMOSAT® can potentially treat:

  • Primary liver cancer: cancer that starts in your liver
  • Secondary/Metastatic liver cancer: cancer that starts in a different part of your body and then spreads to the liver

You and your doctor will talk about whether CHEMOSAT® is the best treatment for you. It will depend on:

  • The stage and grade of your cancer
  • Your age
  • Your overall health
  • How much cancer you have and whether the cancer is mainly in your liver
  • The health of your liver (including the parts that do not have cancer)
  • The location of vital veins and arteries to the tumours in your liver
  • The type of treatment you have had in the past (including any surgeries that you have had in the past)

CHEMOSAT® has been shown to help slow, or reverse the progression of tumours from certain cancers in the liver but is not deemed to be curative.

There are several important differences between CHEMOSAT® and other liver cancer treatments:

  • With CHEMOSAT®, your doctor can give high dose drugs directly to your liver which may help destroy the cancer.
  • By delivering this drug to potentially the entire liver, tumours both seen and unseen by your doctor can potentially be treated.
  • Because CHEMOSAT® keeps most of the drug from spreading to the rest of your body, you may not have as many side effects.
  • Because CHEMOSAT® does not involve major surgery, you may recover faster with CHEMOSAT®.

No one treatment approach is right for all patients, and doctors will often combine multiple treatment approaches as part of a patient’s treatment plan. Eligibility for CHEMOSAT® will depend on a number of factors, as listed under the suitability for CHEMOSAT® section.

Uveal melanoma (UM), also known as ocular melanoma, is a rare cancer of the eye with a poor prognosis. 50% of patients develop distant disease, mainly in the liver. Studies of CHEMOSAT® in uveal melanoma patients has shown good results. However, eligibility for CHEMOSAT® in this patient group will depend on your overall health, stage and grade of cancer and a number of other factors.

No. Your doctor will give you general anaesthesia so you will be asleep during the procedure. When you wake up, you may have some catheters in your body and you may feel uncomfortable. If you feel any pain, let your nurse know right away so she can give you medicine to make you feel better.

Every patient is different. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what you can expect.

Many patients who used CHEMOSAT® did not lose their hair. But every patient is different. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what you can expect.

As with many cancer therapies, treatment with CHEMOSAT® is associated with toxic side effects and certain risks common to the administration of chemotherapy and to surgical procedures involving general anaesthesia, some of which are potentially life threatening. Patients are advised to seek qualified medical advice to determine if they are suitable candidates for treatment with CHEMOSAT®.