interventional radiology

Interventional Oncology

A minimally invasive cancer treatment option

Interventional oncology is a subspecialty of interventional radiology and is considered one of the four main specialties involved in comprehensive cancer treatment and treatment of cancer-related disorders. The others include medical oncology, surgical oncology and radiation oncology.

Interventional oncology is one of the fastest-growing fields in interventional radiology in the past 10 years. Interventional oncology procedures provide minimally invasive, nonsurgical treatments for various cancers. Most procedures are provided on an outpatient basis or may require a single overnight hospital stay.

The major types of cancer that are treated include:

  • Liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma)
  • Metastatic liver cancer (colorectal cancer and others)
  • Kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma)
  • Lung cancer (bronchogenic carcinoma)
  • Bone cancer/soft tissue (bone/soft tissue metastases from other cancers as well as multiple myeloma)

Interventional oncology treatments include percutaneous transarterially directed therapies such as chemoembolization or yttrium-90 for liver cancers and percutaneous cancer ablations of kidney, liver, bone and soft tissue tumors using hot or cold probes (microwave ablation or cryoablation).

In general, these techniques are reserved for patients whose cancer cannot be surgically removed or effectively treated with systemic chemotherapy. However, there are tumors in which the best first-line treatment for a given cancer is interventional oncology. These procedures are also frequently used in combination with other therapies provided by other members of the cancer team.