Image-guided immunotherapy could help treat advanced liver tumors

Early data suggest image-guided injections of immunotherapy could be used to treat advanced-stage liver tumors, according to a study presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s annual meeting in Los Angeles. 

Researchers—led by lead author Steven S. Raman, MD, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles—reported that talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC) can be administered to active liver tumors to stimulate the patient’s immune system so it can fight cancer cells.

“Advanced stage liver tumors, including ones that have spread from other locations, have limited treatment options because the patients can be in poor health; further, the complex structure of the organ can make it difficult to target with standard approaches,” Raman said in a prepared statement. “This minimally invasive treatment offers patients a novel way to directly and indirectly attack the cancer cells.”

Raman and colleagues treated 14 advanced-stage cancer patients with liver metastases with T-VEC. The volume of the injection varied according to the size of the tumor. Patient outcomes will be tracked for up to two years, and new trials are already in the works.

Raman noted that a lot of research is still to be done before this treatment is made available to patients.

“This is an exciting way to look to the future, but patients living with advanced liver cancer should understand that this treatment will not be available for several years, except through clinical trials,” he said.