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J Cancer Res Ther. 2019;15(2):305-311. doi: 10.4103/jcrt.JCRT_923_17.

Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization experience for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma with right atrial tumor thrombus.

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Department of Interventional Therapy, Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Translational Research (Ministry of Education), Peking University Cancer Hospital and Institute, Beijing, China.



Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with tumor thrombus extending to the inferior vena cava (IVC) and right atrium (RA) is rare, which is generally associated with serial syndromes and poor prognosis. The results of earlier observations revealed that the median survival was 1-5 months after diagnosis for untreated patients. The prognosis was poor with surgery, radiotherapy, transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), and chemotherapy.


A total of 1850 patients received TACE for advanced HCC at our institution from October 2011 to September 2016. Among them, 18 cases presented tumor thrombus extended from hepatic vein to IVC and RA. TACE was performed to deal with the tumor thrombus inside the RA, and angiography was performed for characterizing. The successful rate, survival, safety, and clinical adverse events were retrospectively studied.


A total of 56 interventional procedures were conducted for the 18 cases of tumor thrombus extending to IVC and RA. TACE were successfully performed in all patients without significant complications. One case died of pneumonia, and no severe adverse effect was observed in the other 17 cases. The 1- and 3-year overall survival rates were 50% and 16.7%, respectively. The average survival from diagnosis of right atrial tumor thrombus (RATT) was 15.2 months. The blood supply was rich for all RATT. There were seven cases with single-feeding artery and 11 cases with two or three feeding arteries that originated from intra- or extra-hepatic arteries. The extrahepatic artery played a critical role in the blood supply of RATT, including right inferior phrenic artery (8/18), left inferior phrenic artery (1/18), and the left gastric artery (2/18).


For HCC with tumor thrombus in the IVC and RA, TACE could safely improve the prognosis of these patients. Searching for multiple feeding arteries are essential for ensuring efficacy. In addition, careful examination and appropriate embolization technique are essential for safety and efficacy. Lipiodol was a safe and ideal agent for the embolization in RATT.


Hepatocellular carcinoma; right atrial tumor thrombus; transarterial chemoembolization

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