Minimally invasive cancer procedures
A liver cancer treatment called Y-90 radioembolization uses TheraSphere® -- a targeted cancer therapy that consists of millions of tiny glass microspheres containing radioactive yttrium-90. The glass radioactive microspheres (so tiny only about a third of a width of a human hair) are delivered directly to the liver tumors. Source: TheraSphere.com
St. Vincent Interventional radiologists (IR) oncologists (IO) are known for their vascular and oncology expertise and are on the front line when minimally invasive procedures are performed. The IR/IO is a key player on the St. Vincent multi-specialty surgical teams that treat urologic cancers, gastrointestinal cancer (such as liver and kidney cancers), lung cancers and endometrial cancers.
Radio-embolization (Y-90) is only available in limited locations nationwide and St. Vincent Indianapolis was among the first to provide this treatment for liver and kidney cancer. St. Vincent is also a Y-90 training site. This procedure uses x-ray imaging and a contrast material to visualize the blood vessels. The IR physician makes a very small incision to advance a catheter through the blood vessels to the target site. Tiny radiation-filled microspheres pass through the catheter and advance through the blood vessels supplying the tumor with blood. The microspheres cluster at the tumor site and deliver a high dosage of radiation directly to the cancer cells. By blocking the blood flow to the cancer tumor, the microspheres deprive the cancer cells of oxygen and nutrients and they die. The radioactive microspheres are delivered through the hepatic artery and are attracted to the tumor while sparing healthy liver tissue. There are no long-term radiation affects from yttrium-90 – within two weeks the radioactive dose is depleted. The tiny microspheres can remain in the liver without causing any issues.
Chemo-embolization is a procedure that delivers the chemo-oncology drugs directly to the tumor by coating very tiny microspheres with the drug. These microspheres travel to the target via the arteries and blood vessels. In a similar fashion to Y-90 radioembolization, the blood supply to the cancer cells is blocked so that the cancer cells die.
Tumor Ablation is used by Thoracic Surgeons and Interventional Radiologists to freeze or heat up cancer cells and destroy them, thereby shrinking the tumor. A temperature sensitive image-guided probe is used to destroy cancer cells and shrink primary and metastatic lung and chest cancer tumors. This type of procedure is called tumor ablation, cryoablation or cryotherapy. There are three types of energy used in ablation procedures:
- Radiofrequency or microwave energy to heat the probe and destroy the cells
- Liquid nitrogen to freeze the cells
IR oncology procedures may be recommended for patients who are not good candidates for surgery or when the tumor needs to shrink before it can be surgically removed. In advanced cancer cases, if the cancer has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body) IR procedures are used to treat a limited number of secondary cancer tumors so that chemotherapy or radiation therapy can improve symptoms and pain management.
Interventional Radiologists at St. Vincent also work closely with many physician specialists at the St. Vincent Heart Center, in Women's Health, at the Peyton Manning Childrens' Hospital at St. Vincent Hospital Indianapolis to name a few. To learn more about IR procedures click here.