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TACE / TACI for Cancer Treatment


TACI / TACI is one of the modern and developing cancer treatments widely performed all over the world and has been available in BaliMéd Hospital since 2013. This treatment is done by a doctors who are trained in radiology and interventional therapy (or simply called Interventional Radiologist). No other specialty possesses this unique combination of skills!

What is TACE?

Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (also called transarterial chemoembolization or TACE) is a minimally invasive procedure performed in interventional radiology to restrict a tumor’s blood supply. Small embolic particles coated with chemotherapeutic drugs are injected selectively through a catheter into an artery directly supplying the tumor. These particles both block the blood supply and induce cytotoxicity, attacking the tumor in several ways.

What is TACI?

Transcatheter arterial chemoinfusion TACI (Trans Arterial Chemo Infusion) is infusing the chemo inside the tumor cell feeding arteries, with or without the blocking agent.

Cancer Treatment

TACI / TACE is able to be performed on cancer / tumor cases as follows:

  • Cancer
    • Breast
    • Liver
    • Lung and Mediastum
    • Brain, Head and neck
    • Tractus Uro – Genitalis
    • Ovarium
    • Bone
    • Digestive Tract
    • Cervix
  • Tumor
    • Malignant tumor (except: Leukemia, Lymphoma, metastases from primary tumor to whole body)
    • Benign tumor:
    • Brain membrane (Meningioma)
    • Arterial benign tumor (Hemangioma)


A few reasons why TACI / TACE is considered as one of the alternative therapies for cancer treatment:

  • It is globally recognized as a part of multi-disciplinary cancer treatment.
  • To be performed on primary tumor and / or metastatic stage.
  • Provides more advantage on high risk old patient if performed along with surgery or systemic chemotherapy.
  • Acting as an alternative therapy if the patient refuses conventional chemotherapy.

The major advantages of TACI / TACE:

  • Lower dosage of chemo compared to regular chemotherapy and targeted directly to the tumor cell
  • Minimal side effect of the medicine (allows better activity or mobility for the patients).
  • Help to reduce the tumor and hemorrhaging risk during operation (if the operation is needed)

How TACE/TACI is Done?

TACE/TACI is done in the x-ray department of a hospital. You may be given a local anesthetic with a drug to help you relax, or you may be given a general anesthetic to put you to sleep.

The doctor places a thin tube (called a catheter) into the large blood vessel in your groin (called the femoral artery). The doctor then moves the catheter up through the artery until it reaches the artery of the affected organ. A radio-opaque dye is injected into the catheter and an x-ray is taken to find the branches of the artery that are feeding the tumor (called an angiogram). The doctor then moves the catheter to these arteries.

If it’s TACE then the doctor injects a material into the arteries feeding the tumor. The material blocks these arteries. Some types of blocking material dissolve so the arteries are not permanently blocked. The most commonly used material for TACE is a gelatin sponge. Sometimes the gelatin sponge is soaked in a chemotherapy drug and an oily liquid called lipiodol before the doctor injects it into the artery. The sponge traps the chemotherapy drugs inside the liver so that they are concentrated in the area of the tumours. Lipiodol lengthens the amount of time that the drugs are held in the liver. If the chemotherapy drugs are not in the sponge, they are injected into the arteries after they are blocked.

If it’s TACI then the doctor will shot a dose or more of chemotherapy drug to the tumor.

After the process is done, the doctor pulls the catheter out through the femoral artery. Pressure and ice are placed over the incision to help reduce swelling and stop bleeding.

Side Effects

Side effects can happen with any type of treatment for cancer, but everyone’s experience is different. Some people have many side effects. Other people have few or none at all.

TACE/TACI may cause side effects because it can damage healthy cells as it kills cancer cells. Side effects can develop any time during, immediately after or a few days or weeks after chemotherapy. Most side effects go away on their own or can be treated, but some side effects may last a long time or become permanent.

Because TACE/TACI is a local treatment given to the affected organ, there are fewer side effects from the chemotherapy drugs than if they are given as a systemic therapy. Side effects will depend mainly on the number of tumors being treated and your overall health.

TACE/TACI for cancer may cause post-embolization syndrome, which is a group of symptoms that includes:

  • fever
  • pain in the upper-right abdomen, under the ribs
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fatigue

TACE/TACI can also cause:

  • bruising or bleeding at the catheter site
  • hair loss
  • lowered ability to fight off infections
  • abnormal liver function
  • lung infection (called pneumonia)
  • a buildup of fluid in the pleural cavity, which is the space between the lungs and the walls of the chest (called pleural effusion)
  • blood clots in the lung (called pulmonary embolism)
  • inflammation of the gallbladder
  • a buildup of fluid in the abdomen (called ascites)
  • a collection of pus in the place where the tumour was destroyed (called an abscess)
  • tumour lysis syndrome

Tell your doctor if you have these side effects or others you think might be from TACE/TACI. The sooner you tell them of any problems, the sooner they can suggest ways to help you deal with them.