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Radiology. 2001 Jun;219(3):669-78.

Hepatocellular carcinoma: long-term results of combined treatment with laser thermal ablation and transcatheter arterial chemoembolization.

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  • 1Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging, Regina Apostolorum Hospital, Via St Francesco 50, 00041 Albano Laziale, Rome, Italy.



To determine the potential long-term effectiveness of laser thermal ablation (LTA) followed by transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) in the percutaneous ablation of large hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


Thirty large HCCs 3.5-9.6 cm in diameter (mean diameter, 5.2 cm) and 15 small HCCs 0.8-3.0 cm (mean diameter, 1.9 cm) were treated with ultrasonographically guided LTA with TACE and with LTA alone, respectively, in 30 patients: 19 with a solitary large HCC, and 11 with one to three additional synchronous small HCCS: A 1.064-microm neodymium yttrium-aluminium-garnet (Nd-YAG) laser at a power of 5.0 W was coupled with one to four quartz optic fibers that were advanced through 21-gauge needles. Segmental TACE was performed 30-90 days after LTA. All lesions were evaluated for change in size at computed tomography (CT), alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels, recurrence rates, and cumulative survival rates.


No major complications occurred in 127 LTA sessions. CT showed complete tumor necrosis in 27 (90%) of 30 large HCCS: Twenty-eight patients were followed up for 6-41 months (mean, 17.1 months). In 25 patients, all lesions appeared stable or smaller at CT. AFP levels decreased to the normal range in all patients with high pretreatment values. The 1-, 2-, and 3-year local recurrence rate was 7% in large HCCS: Complete tumor necrosis was achieved in all 15 (100%) small HCCs; none of them recurred locally. The 1-, 2-, and 3-year cumulative survival rates were 92%, 68%, and 40%, respectively.


LTA followed by TACE is an effective palliative therapy in treating large HCCS:

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