Analysis of survival and prognostic factors in treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma in Spanish patients with drug-eluting bead transarterial chemoembolization

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Background and aim

Drug-eluting bead transarterial chemoembolization (DEB-TACE) improves the survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), intermediate stage [i.e. Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer-B (BCLC-B)]. The aim of our study was to analyse the overall survival (OS) and prognostic factors of patients with HCC treated with DEB-TACE.

Patients and methods

Patients’ clinical course was recorded from January 2005 to July 2014. The median OS was obtained by the Kaplan–Meier method and compared using the log-rank test. The prognosis factors associated with OS were determined by a multivariate Cox regression analysis and the accuracy of the OS prediction was determined by calculation of the assessment for retreatment with TACE score (ART score).


A cohort of 147 consecutive patients treated with DEB-TACE was included. Median age of the patients was 73.4 years. Overall, 68.7% were men, and all had cirrhosis, with 68.8% being hepatisis C virus positive. Moreover, 35.2% were staged as BCLC-A and 60.2% as BCLC-B. After a median follow-up of 19.2 months, 29.3% were alive, 4.3% needed treatment with sorafenib and 56.1% underwent DEB-TACE retreatment. Median OS was 22.8 [95% confidence interval (CI)=19.6–25.9]. After censoring for ascites and more than one nodule, OS was 23.87 (95% CI =20.72–27.01) and 26.89 (95% CI =21.00–32.78), respectively. The risk of death decreased by 22.3% with the number of DEB-TACE sessions (hazard ratio=0.777) and increased by 25.9% with higher Child–Pugh score (hazard ratio=1.259). Overall, 61.2% of the cohort had an ART score between 0 and 1.5. There were no statistical differences in OS between cohort groups with ART of 0–1.5 and at least 2.5.


The results validate the efficacy and safety of DEB-TACE in patients with HCC and the importance of some prognostic factors for patient survival.

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