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Surg Today. 2004;34(2):127-33.

Optimal strategy of preoperative transcatheter arterial chemoembolization for hepatoblastoma.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuou-ku, Chiba 260-8677, Japan.



To investigate the optimal strategy of preoperative transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) for hepatoblastoma.


Between 1992 and 2001, 7 children with hepatoblastoma (aged 9 months to 13 years) underwent preoperative TACE. The chemoembolic agent used was an emulsion of pirarubicin and lipiodol. Four patients without distant metastasis underwent "primary" TACE without systemic chemotherapy. The other 3 with distant metastases underwent "delayed" TACE following systemic chemotherapy. These patients were all examined retrospectively using clinical data.


The average dosage of lipiodol was 0.6 ml per tumor maximal diameter (cm). All the primary cases showed a significant decrease in alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and a reduction in the tumor size. They consequently underwent a complete surgical resection and are now disease free. All the delayed cases showed a slight decrease in AFP and underwent complete surgical resection; however, two of them died of lung metastases, and the other died of a second malignancy. Regarding complications, liver dysfunction and pulmonary embolism occurred in one patient each.


For patients without distant metastasis, regardless of the resectability of the primary tumor, TACE may be considered the initial and only preoperative treatment, and it may be repeated. For patients with distant metastases, their complete eradication with systemic chemotherapy prior to TACE is essential.

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