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J Gastrointest Surg. 2002 Jan-Feb;6(1):95-101.

Cryosurgery after chemoembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with cirrhosis.

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Division of Hepatobiliary Surgery and Liver Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.


Most cirrhotic patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are not candidates for resection. Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) may ablate a significant portion of the tumor but has a high rate of recurrence. Cryosurgery may permit successful ablation of hepatic tumors but can be complicated by postoperative hemorrhage and is also associated with a significant risk of recurrence. The combination of the two techniques might be beneficial. We evaluated in a prospective study the safety and efficacy of this combination in cirrhotic patients with unresectable HCC. Fifteen patients were included in this study. All but one patient underwent one or several sessions of TACE before cryosurgery. Cryoablation was successfully performed in each patient. The patient who did not undergo preoperative TACE required reoperation for hemorrhage. Another patient with Child-Pugh class B cirrhosis died postoperatively of hepatic and multiorgan failure. At a mean follow-up of 2.5 years, three patients had recurrence of disease, and 13 of 15 patients were alive with the longest survival time being 5 years. The actuarial survival rate at 5 years was 79%. Cryosurgery after TACE is feasible in cirrhotic livers with HCC and can increase the cure rate in large tumors. TACE may reduce the risk of hemorrhage after cryosurgery but can increase the risk of hepatic failure in patients with poor hepatic function.

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