Chemotherapy is a drug-based treatment for getting rid of cancer cells. It may be an alternative for patients whose liver cancer is too advanced for surgery and hasn’t responded to local therapies like embolization or ablation or targeted therapy.
You get the best liver cancer treatment at the RGCIRC cancer research institute, which has the highly-qualified and experienced liver cancer specialists to treat patients at any stage of cancer.
Sadly, most chemotherapy treatments are ineffective against liver cancer. Recent research has shown that using several drugs, rather than chemotherapy alone, could be more beneficial. However, even these drug combinations only shrink a small percentage of tumors, and the effects are always short-lived. Furthermore, the majority of studies indicate that systemic chemo does not help patients live longer.
The following are the most commonly prescribed chemotherapy medications for the treatment of liver cancer:
· Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)
· Gemcitabine (Gemzar)
· 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU)
· Mitoxantrone (Novantrone)
· Capecitabine (Xeloda)
· Doxorubicin (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin)
Sometimes the combination of two or three of these drugs is used. For people who are relatively healthy and can tolerate over one drug, GEMOX (gemcitabine and oxaliplatin) is one alternative. For people with advanced liver disease, 5-FU-based chemotherapy, such as FOLFOX (5-FU, leucovorin and oxaliplatin), is another option.
How is Chemotherapy Given?
Here are three different ways patients are given chemotherapy:
Drugs are either inserted directly into a vein (IV) or administered orally. These medications penetrate the bloodstream and hit almost every area of the body, making this therapy potentially effective for cancers that have expanded to other body parts.
Chemotherapy is administered in cycles, with each treatment interval separated by a period of rest to allow you to rebound from the drugs’ side effects. Most cycles last two to three weeks. Depending on the medications used, the schedule varies.
Medications are injected directly into an artery that contributes to the tumor-affected area of the body. This concentrates the chemo on certain cancer cells. Through limiting the amount of drug that enters other parts of the body, it eliminates side effects. Chemotherapy injected or hepatic artery infusion directly into the hepatic artery is a form of regional chemotherapy for liver cancer.
Hepatic Artery Infusion
Doctors have investigated whether injecting chemo drugs into the hepatic artery at a constant pace is more successful than systemic chemo. Hepatic artery infusion is the name for this procedure (HAI). It differs from chemoembolization in that surgery is needed to implant an infusion pump underneath the abdomen’s surface (belly). The pump is connected to the hepatic artery via a catheter.
HAI can be used to treat people who have large liver cancers that cannot be surgically removed or treated with TACE. Since inserting the pump and catheter requires surgery, which many liver cancer patients may not be able to handle, this procedure may not be appropriate for all patients.
Chemo drugs target rapidly dividing cells, which is why they’re so effective against cancer cells. Chemotherapy is also likely to damage these cells, which may result in side effects.
Chemotherapy side effects vary depending on the form and dosage of medications used, as well as the amount of time they are administered. The following are examples of common side effects:
lLoss of appetite
lNausea and vomiting
lIncreased risk of infections
lEasy bruising or bleeding
All these side effects do not last long and can be cured after the treatment. However, if any of these side effects are severe, you need to consult your physician immediately for consultation and further treatment.