Late March I had the distinct pleasure of attending Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH), along with five other Australian IRs to learn from the incredible experience of the SNUH interventional radiology team headed by Prof Jin Wook Chung. I am grateful to Guerbet for making the workshop possible.
TACE for hepatocellular carcinoma is one of my special areas of interest because at RPA we see a large proportion of the Sydney patients due to our liver transplant service. I attend the weekly tumour board and help to decide who has various treatments including TACE, ablation, surgery or medications. The number of patients we serve, however, is many times less than the incredibly busy SNUH and over the years treating more than 10000 liver tumour patients, the interventional radiologists have developed a very scientific, reasoned and careful approach to TACE that I feel has heretofore only really attained in Korea and Japan where huge experience and a specific patient population has allowed them to pursue a very super selective and thorough approach to TACE.
I was very grateful to learn a few new technical refinements, related to our chemotherapy oil mixture and the use of even smaller microcatheters which allow greater selection of the tumour feeding blood vessels. I am liaising with my pharmacy to incorporate these changes and will attempt to import the cutting edge small microcatheters into Australia. I was also happy to be in Seoul for the historic meeting with North Korea and we enjoyed being out and about in the city the following day.