Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Percutaneous Hepatic Perfusion

People often get confused when they talk about liver cancer. So many primary cancer spread to the liver and patients often think that they have "liver cancer." It's important to differentiate between primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and liver metastases (when other tumors spread to the liver). CNN has an interesting story that talks about the latter and appropriately titles the story, "Cancer spread to liver responds to experimental treatment." The title doesn't mislead one to think that we're talking about primary liver cancer. The experimental procedure is called percutaneous hepatic perfusion, or PHP. It targets tumors with a dose of chemotherapy that is up to 10 times stronger than patients could otherwise tolerate. Consider it a form of locally delivered chemotherapy. Seems like "targeted therapy" may need to be redefined when we're out of the molecular world. Another form of local therapy is called tumor ablation or embolization. I won't get into that right now. To read the CNN story on percutaneous hepatic perfusion, click here.

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