From cancer diagnosis with percutaneous biopsies to therapies such as chemoembolization, radioembolization or irreversible electroporation (IRE), to palliative pain control with nerve plexus blocks, interventional radiologists at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital play many roles in the care of the cancer patient.

Patients suspected of having cancer often undergo percutaneous biopsies under CT or ultrasound guidance by an interventional radiologist. For those whose cancers are confirmed and are in need of chemotherapy, an interventional radiologist can place a Mediport for chemotherapy infusion.

Different treatments are also delivered by interventional radiologists for a variety of cancers. Some cancers of the liver, either primary liver cancer or metastatic disease, can be treated by different ablative methods such as radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation or irreversible electroporation (IRE). These minimally invasive methods can also be used in certain patients with kidney or lung cancers with results similar to surgical resection.

Trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE), trans-arterial radioembolization (TARE) and bland embolization (TAE) are treatment methods designed to treat liver cancers. These methods can help to halt the growth of cancers of the liver. Patients with primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC) or those spreading to the liver from other parts of the body such as the colon, pancreas or breast, may be eligible for these treatments.

For patients with cancer pain, various treatments including nerve blocks, kyphoplasty and bone ablation are available.

Primary Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma, HCC)

Liver cancer is one of the most common malignancies worldwide, affecting nearly one million individuals. The most common cancer that begins in the liver is called hepatocellular carcinoma; this is associated with several chronic liver diseases, including alcoholic cirrhosis, chronic Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Certain metabolic conditions are also associated with HCC, including hemochromatosis, autoimmune hepatitis, and PBC.

Interventional radiologists play a crucial role in the treatment of HCC. For patients with limited disease potentially curative therapies such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and irreversible electroporation (IRE) are available. For patients with more advanced disease, trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE) has been established as the therapy of choice. Trans-arterial radioembolization (TARE) is another treatment option for patients with both limited and advanced disease.

For more information regarding treatment options for HCC or to schedule a consultation with an interventional oncologist, please contact the interventional radiology department at 202-444-5478.

Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer develops in the final part of the digestive system: the longest part of the large intestine (the colon) and the tissue (the rectum) that connects the large intestine to the anus. Most colorectal cancers develop slowly over several years, usually starting as a pre-cancerous polyp on the lining of the colon or rectum, then growing into the tissue wall and possibly blood or lymph vessels. Some patients may develop metastatic disease, the spread of cancer to other part of the body.

Interventional radiologists play a variety of roles in the care of the colorectal patient. Initial diagnosis of metastatic colon cancer is often made by an interventional radiologist through an image guided biopsy. For patients requiring chemotherapy, mediports can be placed to facilitate the administration of chemotherapy.

Minimally invasive therapies such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and irreversible electroporation (IRE) are potentially curative treatment options for patients with metastatic disease limited to the liver and/or lung.

For patients with more extensive spread of disease to the liver, minimally invasive liver directed therapies such as trans-arterial radioembolization (TARE) or trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE) can improve patient outcomes with minimal side effects.

For more information regarding treatment options for metastatic colorectal cancer or to schedule a consultation with an interventional oncologist, please contact the interventional radiology department at 202-444-5478.

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer develops between your stomach and spine deep in your abdomen, in an organ that produces enzymes to help break down food and the hormones insulin and glucagon that control blood sugar levels.

Pancreatic cancer is fairly rare but has one of the highest fatality rates for cancer: The disease does not usually cause noticeable signs in its earliest stages and often goes undetected, despite the tumor wrapping itself around arteries, veins, nerves, and the bile duct. Diagnosis is also challenging given the pancreas’ location and intricate role regulating the body.

Interventional radiologists play a variety of roles in the care of the pancreatic cancer patient. Initial diagnosis of metastatic pancreatic cancer is often made by an interventional radiologist through an image guided biopsy. For patients requiring chemotherapy, mediports can be placed to facilitate the administration of chemotherapy.

For patients with disease localized to the pancreas and are not eligible for surgery, a novel minimally invasive treatment called irreversible electroporation (IRE) can improve outcomes.

For patients with more extensive spread of disease to the liver, minimally invasive liver directed therapies such as trans-arterial radioembolization (TARE) or trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE) can improve patient outcomes with minimal side effects.

Patients who are suffering from pain due to pancreatic cancer can often find relief from a CT guided celiac plexus block.

For more information regarding treatment options for pancreatic cancer or to schedule a consultation with an interventional oncologist, please contact the interventional radiology department at 202-444-5478.

Bile Duct Cancer

Bile duct cancer (also known as cholangiocarcinoma) is a type of tumor which starts in the bile duct, a series to tubes connecting the liver to the intestines. The bile duct transports bile from the liver to the intestinal tract, which functions to help digest dietary fat. Initial symptoms of bile duct cancer may be due to blockage of the bile duct leading to jaundice (yellowing of skin), itching or infection.

Interventional radiologists play a variety of roles in the care of the bile duct cancer patient. Initial diagnosis of bile duct cancer is often made by an interventional radiologist through an image guided biopsy. For patients requiring chemotherapy, mediports can be placed to facilitate the administration of chemotherapy.

For patients with signs of bile duct blockage, an interventional radiologist can place a drain or a stent to relieve this obstruction.

Minimally invasive therapies such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and irreversible electroporation (IRE) are potentially curative treatment options for patients with limited disease in the liver.

For patients with more extensive disease in the liver, minimally invasive liver directed therapies such as trans-arterial radioembolization (TARE) or trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE) can improve patient outcomes with minimal side effects.

For more information regarding treatment options for bile duct cancer or to schedule a consultation with an interventional oncologist, please contact the interventional radiology department at 202-444-5478.

Make an Appointment

For further information or to schedule a consultation with an interventional oncologist, please contact the interventional radiology department at

202-444-5478