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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 1996 May-Jun;7(3):419-25.

Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization in inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma: four-year follow-up.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.



To evaluate the efficacy of repeated chemoembolization in patients with inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


One hundred thirty-two patients with HCC underwent transcatheter arterial chemoembolization with an emulsion of iodized oil and cisplatin. In 104 patients, "light" gelatin sponge embolization was also used. Chemoembolization was repeated every 1.5-3.0 months in most patients (range, one to 18 chemoembolization sessions).


In 74 patients, the HCCs became smaller or disappeared after chemoembolization. Decreases in size were seen in 55 of 76 HCCs 9 cm or smaller, 17 of 42 HCCs between 9 and 18 cm, and two of 14 HCCs larger than 18 cm. Use of gelatin sponge pledgets enhanced the response in tumors larger than 9 cm. Seven of 74 HCCs that responded to chemoembolization increased in size later. New daughter nodules that appeared at other sites responded to chemoembolization in 24 of 40 patients. Further new nodules appeared in 14 of 24 patients, and in six patients they responded to therapy. Median survival was 26 months for patients with responsive HCCs and 5 months for those with unresponsive lesions.


Tumor size at the start of chemoembolization influenced the response to treatment and survival. The addition of gelatin sponge improved results only in tumors larger than 9 cm. Recurrence after an initial response was due more to the appearance of new daughter nodules in new locations rather than recrudescence of the presenting tumor.

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