About Interventional Cancer Treatment

Using image guidance and the most advanced technology, our interventional radiologists treat patients with cancerous tumors through precise, targeted therapies. Known as local regional therapy, it is one of the most exciting frontiers in cancer treatment. A single, cancerous tumor or organ - if multiple lesions are involved - is precisely targeted with cancer-fighting agents or treatment which is strategically delivered to the tumor site or area utilizing a probe, fine needle or small catheter.  This benefits the patient in that the surrounding tissue is spared, resulting in fewer of the side effects associated with traditional treatments and surgery.

Meet our interventional radiologists specialized in cancer care: Dr. Papadouris


What cancer treatment options are offered?

Our Interventional Radiologist specializing in cancer, provide the following cutting edge cancer treatment options:

  •  NanoKnife (Inova Alexandria Hospital exclusive)

  •  Radioembolization

  •  Chemoembolization

  •  Cryoablation

  •  Radiofrequency ablation

  • STAR ™ Tumor Ablation System

  • Microwave ablation

Other adjunctive cancer procedures:

  •  Needle biopsies

  •  Vascular access catheters and ports

  •  Bilary interventions

  •  Ureteral  stenting and nephrostomy



Also called transcatheter arterial embolization (TACE), a micro-catheter is used to deliver tiny beads or drug-eluding beads directly to the tumor in the liver. This procedure provides the following benefits:

  1. The beads or particles act to shut off blood supply to the tumor and trap the chemotherapy drugs inside the tumor. The tumor is deprived of nutrients and oxygen and is exposed to a high concentration of chemotherapy for an extended period of time.
  2. The chemotherapy drugs are delivered directly to the tumor site so the effective dosage to the tumor is up to hundreds of times more than if it was administered through an IV in the arm or through a port.
  3. Since most of the chemotherapy drugs stay within the liver, there is decreased circulation throughout the body and less systemic side effects.

Chemoembolization is effective for treatment of both tumors that originate in the liver (primary liver cancer) or metastatic tumors that have spread to the liver from other cancer sites (i.e. colorectal, breast, carcinoid, etc.)


Percutaneous cryoablation freezes and kills cancerous tumors locally. Under CT or ultrasound guidance, our interventional radiologist inserts a needle, or cryoprobe. This probe is filled with argon gas, which causes rapid freezing of the tumor and tissue at temperatures of -100 degrees Celsius. The tissue is then thawed by replacing the argon with helium. This process consists of two freezing and thawing cycles, to obtain a frozen ablation margin of at least 5 millimeters beyond the tumor edge to ensure death of the entire tumor.

This particular procedure is commonly used for lung, liver, kidney, prostate and breast cancers, when surgery is not an option.


Microwave Ablation

Microwave Ablation (MWA) is a procedure where a microwave antenna is advanced directly into a tumor guided by CT or ultrasound imaging. The ablation antenna uses microwave energy to cause rapid rotation and agitation of water molecules to create friction and heat, which causes tumor cell death. Compared to other thermoablative devices, a couple advantages of microwave ablation is the ability to create a larger ablation zone in a shorter period of time. It can be used to treat primary and metastatic liver cancers, kidney and adrenal tumors, primary and secondary lung malignancies, and bone metastases. This procedure is helpful in relieving symptoms and extending survival. It has been shown to be an effective tool used in conjunction with other cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy, transarterial chemotherapy (TACE), radioembolization, and surgical resection.


Performed only at Inova Alexandria Hospital. NanoKnife uses irreversible electroportation  or quick bursts of electrical energy through a collection of electrodes inserted directly into and around the tumor – precisely targets and kills hard-to-reach tumors at the cellular level. The ultra precision of the NanoKnife allows our interventional radiologists to treat tumors that in the past would have been complicated or virtually impossible for surgeons to operate on due to their location. Our interventional radiologists use NanoKnife to treat tumors that develop in soft tissue, including the liver, lungs, kidneys and pancreas.



Similar to chemoembolization in the approach to treat liver cancer, the difference is that radioembolization treats the tumor with radioactive microspheres. The microspheres are loaded with Y-90, a type of radioisotope that emits beta radiation to kill tumor cells. The beads are injected into the artery that supplies blood to the tumors. The beads become trapped into the tumor’s vascular bed, and emit a high dose of radiation to destroy the cancerous cells.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) shrinks and kills tumor cells using heat from radiofrequency energy. It is often used to treat kidney, lung and both primary and metastatic liver cancers. Our interventional radiologist using CT or ultrasound imaging guidance, inserts an ablation needle into the skin and heat energy is emitted directly to the tumor destroying the cancer cells. Scar tissue replaces the cancer cells. The procedure is helpful in relieving symptoms and extending survival.

STAR™ Tumor Ablation System

A new minimally invasive treatment option for patients with metastatic spinal tumors is now exclusively available in the metro area with our Interventional Radiologists specialized in cancer treatmentand Inova Alexandria Hospital . The STAR™ Tumor Ablation System is a dramatic step forward in the treatment of metastatic spinal tumors.Unlike other ablation tools available today, the STAR System was developed exclusively to pallatively treat metastatic spinal tumors. Using radiofrequency energy , the STAR Tumor Ablation System offers the ability to reduce the size of metastatic spinal tumors in a single, minimally invasive procedure, and provide rapid pain relief.  As compared to conventional methods – which can take weeks and require multiple treatments to achieve measurable reductions in tumor size and back pain.

Equally beneficial to many patients who undergo radiofrequency ablation therapy for metastatic spinal tumors is that, unlike radiation therapy, there may be no need to delay their systemic and primary cancer treatment regimens.

This minimally invasive procedure requires only local anesthesia, and a small incision in the spine and it typically takes less than 90 minutes to complete.

How do I schedule a consultation and partner hospital locations

Typically, your physician or health care provider will call directly to schedule an appointment or consultation for you.  If you have been asked to make your own appointment, please call the hospital you prefer to be seen by our physicians.  Please be sure you have your physician’s order and insurance information readily available to expedite the call. AAR’s interventional radiologists specialized in oncology or cancer care perform procedures at the following hospitals:

Inova Alexandria Hospital
4320 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA 22304
Map and interactive directions link
To schedule a consultation, please call 703.504.7950

Inova Mount Vernon Hospital
2501 Parker’s Lane
Alexandria, VA 22306
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To schedule a consultation, please call 703.664.7171

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center
2300 Optiz Boulevard
Woodbridge, VA 22191
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To schedule a consultation, please call 703.523.1980