• Southampton – The world’s leading Chemosaturation Therapy Centre, treating ocular melanoma liver metastases

Southampton – The world’s leading Chemosaturation Therapy Centre, treating ocular melanoma liver metastases

The team at Spire Southampton Hospital has successfully completed its 100th chemosaturation therapy procedure.

Patient Brian Carney receives his 7th chemosaturation therapy procedure

  • “I’ve had three years I wouldn’t have had” states patient Mr Brian Carney
  • Southampton based team helps increase life expectancy for patients with metastatic liver cancer from ocular melanoma(OM) [1]    
  • In 50%[2] of patients with OM, the tumour spreads to their liver and this becomes the main or life-limiting component of their disease
  • As part of a holistic approach to treating cancer, the liver-directed high dose chemotherapy, known as chemosaturation therapy is delivered by a multi-disciplinary team at Spire Southampton Hospital and at Southampton University Hospital

World’s leading centre

Southampton is the leading chemosaturation therapy centre in the world with the highest number of recorded treatments in ocular melanoma liver metastases and among the best published evidence of clinical benefit to the patients.

The Southampton team, led by Dr Brian Stedman, consultant interventional radiologist at Spire Southampton Hospital, has just carried out the 100th chemosaturation therapy procedure– a treatment helping extend the life expectancy of patients with liver cancer from metastatic ocular melanoma from a few months to years.

Patients travel from Singapore, Israel, Ireland, USA and across the UK to the Southampton team based at Spire Southampton Hospital and The University Hospital Southampton.

The treatment

Chemosaturation therapy allows doctors to administer an anti-cancer drug at a higher concentration level than is possible in systemic chemotherapy because the liver is isolated from the rest of the body. By delivering this drug to the entire liver, treatment is administered to potentially both visible tumours and undetected micro tumours.

The procedure involves using two small balloons to divert blood past the liver, while delivering drugs directly into the organ.

A technology called chemosaturation therapy developed by Delcath Systems is a liver specific chemotherapy delivery system. It is designed to treat cancers in the liver by delivering concentrated doses of an anti-cancer drug directly to the liver while potentially allowing for manageable side effects preserving the liver and potentially extending survival.

Once the drug has been delivered, blood from the liver is drained from the patient and processed through a filtration machine to reduce toxicity, before being returned to the patient via the jugular vein.

The patient

Mr Brian Carney, a retired businessman from West Yorkshire, was diagnosed with OM in 2005.  He has undergone his seventh chemosaturation therapy, more than anyone else in the UK.

He explains:

“Since 2013 I’ve had several liver resections, immunotherapy treatments and seven rounds of chemosaturation therapy. It has been over three years since my cancer spread (metastasised), but at the moment I am well, although I have regular scans and I am prepared to undergo more treatment if necessary. During the intervening period I have generally enjoyed pretty good health, travelled extensively and seen the birth of my two grandchildren. The combination of surgery, chemosaturation therapy and the complementary treatments offered at Southampton has been a great success as far as I am concerned.

“Few oncology centres have much experience of treating OM as it is so rare, but I was lucky enough to be referred to Dr Brian Stedman at Spire Southampton Hospital, where I have been treated for over three years. Every time I go to the hospital it is like meeting old friends who happen to be experts; including nurses, therapists and doctors.

“My experience is that Professor Christian Ottensmeier at Southampton General Hospital and Dr Stedman and his team have significantly improved the clinical procedure over the last few years.   After my first procedure I felt tired and weak for a couple of weeks and I needed frequent blood tests for several weeks afterwards.  That compares with my fourth procedure when I flew directly from Southampton to Glasgow to attend an open air ACDC concert, followed two days later by a Fleetwood Mac concert.  It may not sound anything very much but, as a patient, the difference in recovery has improved out of all recognition. I have tried to maintain the trend - I celebrated my 7th chemosaturation therapy with two separate Black Sabbath concerts.

“The advancements in the treatment of liver cancer are rapid and I hope to keep going with this treatment until liver cancer is seen as a chronic disease rather than a dangerous and life limiting form of cancer. Brian Stedman and Sanjay Gupta, the Critical Care Consultant, have worked wonders in minimising the time required in hospital and the recovery time for patients.” 

The consultant, Dr Brian Stedman

As Dr Stedman explains: “Chemosaturation therapy involves three basis steps: 1) Isolation 2) Saturation 3) Filtration. In essence we are cutting off the liver from the rest of the body to soak it in a high dose of a drug and then filtering the blood almost completely clean before returning it to the body.

“This treatment has changed the way we treat ocular melanoma liver metastases. We know the treatment works and as a team, we have focussed on patient safety, leading to a very positive outcomes and improved quality of life for our patients.”

[1] Uveal Melanoma UK National Guidelines, P. Nathan et al. / European Journal of Cancer 51 (2015) 2404–2412



To book an appointment with Dr Stedman please contact Debbie Brooks Tel: 023 80 764352 or visit:


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