Metastatic Carcinoma in Liver Tissue at 40x Magnification
Chemotherapy generally does not cure individuals with metastatic cancer, but the treatment can prolong their lives. A targeted form of chemotherapy enables significantly higher concentrations of cancer-killing drugs to be utilized to fight the disease than can be safely used in the more common systemic approach. The specialized procedure involves placing a catheter and infusion pump into the main hepatic artery so that floxuridine or other medications can be administered directly to the affected organ. Studies show that this treatment method can add months to the life expectancy of some patients, whereas systemic chemotherapy can help alleviate certain symptoms but does not apparently lengthen the lives of cancer patients whose disease has metastasized to the liver. Similarly, liver tumors are not very responsive to treatment with radiation, so that radiation therapy is also only normally useful for symptom relief.