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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1993 Feb;160(2):301-6.

Response of early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma and borderline lesions to therapeutic arterial embolization.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic Radiology, National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.



In Japan, borderline lesions and early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are now histopathologically divided into two subgroups; one includes adenomatous hyperplasia and atypical adenomatous hyperplasia, and the other includes early HCC and early advanced HCC. In order to evaluate the efficacy of transcatheter arterial embolization for treating such lesions, histopathologic studies were done after embolization and resection in 27 patients.


The lesions consisted of two adenomatous hyperplasias, one atypical adenomatous hyperplasia, 22 early HCCs, and 13 early advanced HCCs. All patients had chronic liver diseases in nontumorous parenchyma in addition to HCC. For transcatheter arterial embolization, one of the following embolizing materials was used: iodized oil (Lipiodol) alone (n = 4), an emulsion of doxorubicin in Lipiodol (n = 8), and the same emulsion followed by gelatin sponge particles (n = 15).


The frequencies of tumor stain on the angiogram and retention of Lipiodol within the tumor were 84% and 94% in overt HCC, 23% and 69% in early advanced HCC, and 9% and 9% in early HCC, respectively. The average size of overt HCC was significantly (p < .01) larger than that of early advanced HCC and early HCC. The amount of necrosis induced by embolization relative to the size of the mass was 56% on average in overt HCCs, 14% in early advanced HCCs, and 0% in early HCCs, atypical adenomatous hyperplasias, and adenomatous hyperplasias. Significant differences (p < .01) in mean necrosis rate were seen between overt HCCs and early advanced HCCs, between early advanced HCCs and early HCCs, and between overt HCCs and early HCCs. The frequency of Lipiodol retention correlated with mean necrosis rate for tumor. With reference to therapeutic techniques, only for the overt HCCs was a significant difference (p < .01) in the mean necrosis rate found between the group that received the emulsion of doxorubicin in Lipiodol and the group that received the emulsion and then particles of gelatin.


This study suggests that transcatheter arterial embolization has limited efficacy for treating early-stage HCC and borderline lesions compared with its efficacy for treating overt HCC.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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