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Cancer. 1995 May 15;75(10):2427-34.

Efficacy of transarterial targeted treatments on survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. An Italian experience.

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Istituto di Patologia Medica I, Università di Bologna, Italy.



Most patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are not suitable for surgical therapy. Systemic chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and hormonotherapy have not had convincingly acceptable results. Therefore, transarterial catheter-targeted therapies such as intraarterial chemotherapy (IAC), possibly followed by transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE), have been proposed.


A survival analysis curve was drawn using the Kaplan-Meier method for 164 patients, 100 with HCC who underwent TACE (69) or IAC (31), and a matched historic group of 64 who did not receive specific antineoplastic treatment.


A significantly more favorable survival was observed for TACE-treated patients compared with IAC-treated patients (P < 0.001); TACE- and IAC-treated patients had a statistically superior survival than that of untreated patients (P < 0.001 and P < 0.025, respectively). This difference was still significant (P < 0.001) when the patients were subdivided into Classes A and B and Stages I and II following Child's and Okuda's criteria. The TACE- and IAC-treated groups had a good relationship between technical efficacy of therapy and survival. Stratifying the patients according to the degree of iodized oil (Lipiodol Ultrafluid, Guerbet, Aulnay-Sous-Bois, France) uptake in the three groups with Group 1 having an uptake greater than 75% of tumor mass, Group 2 having an uptake of 50%-75%, and Group 3 having an uptake less than 50%, survival at 6, 12, 24, 36, and 48 months was calculated as 94%, 88%, 67%, 53%, and 30%, respectively, for Group 1; 86%, 68%, 13%, 13%, and 0% for Group 2, and 43%, 23%, 6%, 6%, and 0% for Group 3 (Group 1 vs. Group 2: P < 0.001; Group 1 vs. Group 3: P < 0.001; Group 2 vs. Group 3: P < 0.001, respectively). The most important side effects after the intraarterial procedure were fever (46.2%), abdominal pain (36.6%), chemical cholecystitis (8%), and pancreatitis (1.7%). Death strictly related to treatment occurred in two patients; one had massive bleeding due to ruptured esophageal varices, and the other had a subphrenic abscess of a superficial HCC of the VIII segment.


Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization and IAC were effective and relatively safe, and the authors believe that they have a primary role in treating patients with unresectable HCC larger than 5 cm; iodized oil uptake can be considered a suitable prognostic marker.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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