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J Surg Oncol. 1995 Oct;60(2):116-21.

Hepatic artery chemoembolization or embolization for primary and metastatic liver tumors: post-treatment management and complications.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Oncology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


This paper describes complications and patient management issues associated with hepatic arterial chemoembolization (HACE) and embolization (HAE) used to treat liver malignancies and characterizes patient survival based on histologic tumor type. We performed a retrospective review of all patients treated with HACE or HAE between January 1, 1988 and December 31, 1990. During the study period, 314 HACEs and HAEs were performed in 121 patients. Ninety-six of the patients (79%) were treated for neoplasms metastatic to the liver. The morbidity rate following HACE and HAE in this study was 5.1%. The major complications included portal vein thrombosis, hepatic abscess, and liver failure. The treatment-related mortality rate was 4.1%. Fever and ileus were the most common management problems following HACE or HAE. Median survival for patients with liver metastases varied according to histologic type, and median survival for patients with hepatocellular cancer was 306 days. Morbidity and mortality from HACE and HAE to treat liver tumors can be minimized by proper selection and careful management of patients. HACE or HAE alone was not curative in any of these 121 patients. An understanding of treatment-related side effects is necessary to aid in the management of patients following HACE or HAE.

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