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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2003 Jul;38(7):770-8.

Comparison of percutaneous acetic acid injection and percutaneous ethanol injection for hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic patients: a prospective study.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Dept. of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.



Ultrasound-guided percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) and percutaneous acetic acid injection (PAI) are effective in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We conducted a prospective study to compare the therapeutic efficacy of both these methods.


Sixty-three patients were treated by PAI using 50% acetic acid and 62 by PEI using pure ethanol. There were no significant baseline differences in age, sex, Child-Pugh class, tumour size and number, or other clinico-biochemical parameters between the two groups.


During a follow-up period of 24 +/- 9 (range 6-38) months, 19 (30%) of the PAI group and 21 (34%) of the PEI group died (P = 0.704). The 1- and 3-year survival rates were 84% and 51% for the PAI group and 81% and 46% for the PEI group (P = 0.651). The corresponding tumour recurrence rates were 51% and 74% for the PAI group, and 54% and 64% for the PEI group (P = 0.787). The treatment sessions were 3.9 +/- 1.6 and 6.2 +/- 2.3 for the PAI and PEI groups, respectively, in each treatment cycle (P = 0.008). A multivariate analysis using the Cox regression model revealed that ascites (relative risk (RR) 3.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.5-6.3, P = 0.002), large (>3 cm) or multinodular HCCs (RR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1-5.4, P = 0.04), and development of tumour recurrence (RR 7.0, 95% CI 3.1-16.0, P < 0.001) were independent, poor prognostic factors in both groups.


PAI and PEI are equally effective in the treatment of HCC. PAI has the advantage of fewer treatment sessions in each treatment course. Careful pretreatment patient selection may improve survival.

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