In vitro model for simulating drug delivery during balloon-occluded transarterial chemoembolization
Simple Summary Liver cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide and balloon-occluded transarterial chemoembolization (B-TACE) has emerged as a safe and effective treatment for liver cancer. However, the hemodynamic alterations that are responsible for the successfulness of the treatment and are produced by the microballoon catheter used during the treatment are not yet well understood. In this study, we developed an in vitro model (IVM) that can simulate B-TACE. We designed clinically relevant experiments, and we obtained clinically realistic results. We conclude that the IVM allows for a visual understanding of a complex phenomenon (i.e., the blood flow redistribution after balloon occlusion) and it could be used as a base for future sophisticated and even patient-specific IVMs; in addition, it could be used to conduct IVM-based research on B-TACE. Background: Balloon-occluded transarterial chemoembolization (B-TACE) has emerged as a safe and effective procedure for patients with liver cancer, which is one of the deadliest types of cancer worldwide. B-TACE consist of the transcatheter intraarterial infusion of chemotherapeutic agents, followed by embolizing particles, and it is performed with a microballoon catheter that temporarily occludes a hepatic artery. B-TACE relies on the blood flow redistribution promoted by the balloon-occlusion. However, flow redistribution phenomenon is not yet well understood. Methods: This study aims to present a simple in vitro model (IVM) where B-TACE can be simulated. Results: By visually analyzing the results of various clinically-realistic experiments, the IVM allows for the understanding of balloon-occlusion-related hemodynamic changes and the importance of the occlusion site. Conclusion: The IVM can be used as an educational tool to help clinicians better understand B-TACE treatments. This IVM could also serve as a base for a more sophisticated IVM to be used as a research tool.