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Indian J Radiol Imaging. 2019 Jan-Mar;29(1):47-52. doi: 10.4103/ijri.IJRI_352_18.

Early experience of combination therapy of transarterial chemoembolization and radiofrequency ablation for hepatocellular carcinoma measuring 3-7 cm.

Author information

Department of Interventional Radiology, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Department of Hepatology, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi, India.


Background of the Article:

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common human malignancies worldwide. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is considered curative option in selected patients; efficacy is severely limited by lesion size and lesions bordering a large vessel. On the other hand, transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is not limited by lesion size and arterial occlusion of the tumor feeding vessels leads to increase the volume of the ablative zone. Combination treatments using both intraarterial liver-directed therapy and percutaneous ablation seek to overcome the disadvantages of the individual treatments alone, theoretically improving response to therapy and survival.

Material and Methods:

This is a single-center retrospectively study in which patients who received TACE plus RFA for HCC were evaluated for technical success, local tumor progression rates, distant intra and extrahepatic recurrences and survival.


The study included 22 patients, 21 patients had a solitary HCC of size 3-7 cm and one patient had three target lesions. Technical success achieved after first session of combination treatment was 100% (24/24). At 1 and 3 months follow-up 100% patients (24 target lesions) had complete response and at 6 months; 21 (87.5%) had complete response, one (4.2%) had local tumor progression and two patients (8.3%) developed progressive disease. No major difference in complication was noted. The event-free survival as shown by Kaplan-Meier graph analysis at 6 and 12 months were 90.7% and 66.4% with mean time to event-free survival was 11.1 months.


The combined use of TACE and RFA is a safe and effective option in the treatment of patients with single large or multinodular HCC when surgical resection is not feasible and this approach provides better results than RFA or TACE alone.


Hepatocellular carcinoma; TACE (Trans-arterial chemoembolization); TACE plus RFA; radiofrequency ablation

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