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Am J Transplant. 2009 Aug;9(8):1920-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2009.02695.x. Epub 2009 Jun 22.

A comparative analysis of transarterial downstaging for hepatocellular carcinoma: chemoembolization versus radioembolization.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Section of Interventional Radiology, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chicago, IL, USA.


Chemoembolization and other ablative therapies are routinely utilized in downstaging from United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) T3 to T2, thus potentially making patients transplant candidates under the UNOS model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) upgrade for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study was undertaken to compare the downstaging efficacy of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) versus transarterial radioembolization. Eighty-six patients were treated with either TACE (n = 43) or transarterial radioembolization with Yttrium-90 microspheres (TARE-Y90; n = 43). Median tumor size was similar (TACE: 5.7 cm, TARE-Y90: 5.6 cm). Partial response rates favored TARE-Y90 versus TACE (61% vs. 37%). Downstaging to UNOS T2 was achieved in 31% of TACE and 58% of TARE-Y90 patients. Time to progression according to UNOS criteria was similar for both groups (18.2 months for TACE vs. 33.3 months for TARE-Y90, p = 0.098). Event-free survival was significantly greater for TARE-Y90 than TACE (17.7 vs. 7.1 months, p = 0.0017). Overall survival favored TARE-Y90 compared to TACE (censored 35.7/18.7 months; p = 0.18; uncensored 41.6/19.2 months; p = 0.008). In conclusion, TARE-Y90 appears to outperform TACE for downstaging HCC from UNOS T3 to T2.

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