Alcohol injections in the treatment of liver cancer

John Han-Chih Chang, MD and Kenneth Blank, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
My mother is dying with advanced liver cancer. She is on chemotherapy. The pain and nausea are not presently a problem. they are under management. I was looking for treatment options. I have seen alcohol injected into liver tumors which had some effect on tumor growth. I have seem alcohol injection of liver tumors mentioned as a treatment option. I came to your web sight looking for information on this and other options. All I found was tantalizing articles and the notation "no abstract available". Can you under stand my disappointment in being so close to alteratives information and not being able to access that information?  

Ken Blank, MD, and John Han-Chih Chang, MD, OncoLink Editorial Assistants, reply:

Thank you for your question.

Direct injection of absolute alcohol into a tumor produces tumor death. This form of therapy in liver cancer is experimental and utilized at only a small number of institutions. Most physicians who treat liver cancer with alcohol injections only treat if there are fewer than four lesions and each is less than 4cm in size.

Information on new or experimental treatments is readily available in OncoLink. A good place to start your inquiry is with the CancerNet abstracts. These abstracts represent the most recent work published in major medical and scientific journals. The abstracts are printed in full along with the authors names and the journal of publication. Please see the OncoLink's Liver Cancer section for more information on liver cancer.