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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2007 May;188(5):1201-7.

Long-term outcome after chemoembolization and embolization of hepatic metastatic lesions from neuroendocrine tumors.

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  • 1Division of Interventional Radiology, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, 510 S Kingshighway Blvd., Box 8131, Saint Louis, MO 63110, USA.



Hepatic artery chemoembolization and hepatic artery embolization (HAE) are accepted treatments of patients with hepatic metastasis from neuroendocrine tumors. Long-term outcome data are limited. We present our experience in the use of hepatic artery chemoembolization in the treatment of patients with hepatic metastasis from neuroendocrine tumors.


Forty-six patients with carcinoid (n = 31) or islet cell (n = 15) tumors were treated. Overall and progression-free survival times starting with the first treatment were calculated. Potential factors affecting survival, including presence of extrahepatic disease and resection of the primary lesion, were analyzed. Relief of symptoms was subjectively determined for tumors with hormonal secretion.


The 46 patients underwent 93 hepatic artery chemoembolization or HAE sessions. The mean overall survival time for the entire group was 1,273 +/- 185 days. The mean overall survival times for the carcinoid (1,255 +/- 163 days) and islet cell tumor (1,311 +/- 403 days) subgroups were similar (p = 0.66). The progression-free survival times for the carcinoid (602 +/- 144 days) and islet cell (501 +/- 107 days) tumor subgroups also were similar (p = 0.72). The survival time of patients without known extrahepatic metastasis (n = 18; 1,571 +/- 291 days) trended toward significance compared with that of patients with known extrahepatic disease (n = 26; 770 +/- 112 days; p = 0.08). Resection of the primary tumor in 19 of 46 patients did not affect survival (resection survival, 1,558 +/- 400 days; nonresection survival, 1,000 +/- 179 days; p = 0.44). Twenty of 25 patients with hormonally active tumors had relief of symptoms after one cycle of treatment. The 30-day mortality was 4.3%.


The overall survival time after hepatic artery chemoembolization or HAE among patients with neuroendocrine tumors is approximately 3.5 years. The progression-free survival time approaches 1.5 years. The presence of extrahepatic metastasis or an unresected primary tumor should not limit the use of hepatic artery chemoembolization or HAE.

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