What is Interventional Oncology?

In human medicine, interventional radiologists routinely work intimately with oncologists to provide innovative, minimally invasive options for their patients. A similar trend has recently begun in Veterinary medicine to provide multimodal therapies along with surgeons and oncologists forming a comprehensive oncology team for our patients. Interventional oncology can help provide minimally invasive options with low morbidity for patients who have historically had limited options.

Chemoembolization of liver tumors (TACE-transarterial chemoembolization)


  • Animals with hepatic tumor that are not amenable to conventional surgical excision (typically HCC)
  • Tumors that are progressive or at risk or have historically developed a hemoabdomen
  • Dogs with limited evidence of systemic spread are preferred as candidates.


  • Dual phase contrast abdominal CT is required to assess the arterial supply of the mass and help guide subsequent intervention.
  • A small incision over the femoral artery is made to allow catheter selection of the main arteries feeding the hepatic mass.
  • Arteries are super selected for local delivery as hepatic tumor blood supply is typically 95% arterial vs. normal liver tissue which receives most of its blood supply from the portal system.
  • The chemotherapy is mixed with beads and contrast that are sized to allow delivery of the chemotherapy to the capillary bed of the mass under fluoroscopic guidance.
  • These beads may also embolization the mass, this reduces the blood supply and causes necrosis of the mass.

Uptake of chemotherapy eluding beads into the hepatic mass in a human 24 hours after transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) shows the extent of uptake directly into the mass.

Post-procedural recovery

  • Dogs have a small groin incision and are kept overnight for observation and supportive care.
  • Most are discharged the following day.

Preliminary data (per Dr. Chick Weisse)

    • Safe procedure: <10% non-target embolization
    • Tumors tend to have altered architecture at recheck CT
    • 30% have reduction in size, many have areas of necrosis.
    • Increased concentration of chemotherapy to the liver with significantly reduced levels systemically
    • Tumors size may be reduced for subsequent surgical resection.

Percutaneous transjugular stenting for caval obstructions

      • Small incision in jugular vein for caval access
      • Placement of stent(s) across obstructive lesion.
      • Rapid resolution of signs of impaired venous drainage.

Other oncological interventions offered at ACCESS

  • Chemoembolization of non-resectable tumors
  • Endoluminal stenting: urethral, ureteral, biliary, tracheal neoplasia
  • Caval stenting for heart-based tumors or other cause of caval obstruction
  • Intra-arterial chemotherapy: prostatic tumors, bladder tumors
  • Cryoablation, thermoablation
  • Endoscopic removal of tracheal masses
  • Endoscopic removal of esophageal, gastric, colonic and bladder polyps

 1. Schlicksup MD, Weisse CW, Berent AC, Solomon JA. Use of endovascular stents in 3 dogs with Budd-Chiari syndrome. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2009 Sep 1;235(5):544-50.
2. Guan, YS, He, Qing, Wang, MQ. Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization: history for more than 30 years. Gastroenterology Volume 2012, Article ID 480650, 8 pages.

If you would like your client’s pet to be evaluated by a member of our Interventional Radiology / Endoscopy team, please contact our offices to schedule an appointment. The Interventional Radiology / Endoscopy team accommodates emergency referrals during office hours and is on call for emergency surgeries after hours. Your client’s pet can also be admitted through the emergency service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for stabilization and transfer to our Interventional Radiology / Endoscopy team.