Outcome of transarterial chemoembolization monotherapy, and in combination with percutaneous ethanol injection, or radiofrequency ablation therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most commonly occurring malignances worldwide. Curative therapies such as resection, percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) have been applied to patients with early-stage HCC. Patients with more advanced cancers require local or systemic therapies. We present the results of our retrospective review conducted to evaluate whether transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) alone and combined TACE with percutaneous ablation for HCC exhibited superior efficacy to palliative treatment.


The effects of TACE and of the combined therapies (TACE + PEI or TACE + RFA) on the long-term survival rates were evaluated in 268 untreated HCC patients by various statistical analyses.


The cumulative survival rates in the TACE alone group were significantly superior to those in the palliative treatment group. Further, the cumulative survival rates in the combined TACE + PEI/RFA group were significantly superior to those in the TACE alone group. When the comparison among the groups was restricted to patients with two or three tumors fulfilling the Milan criteria, significantly greater prolongation of survival was observed in the combined TACE + PEI/RFA group than in the PEI/RFA alone group.


The aforementioned treatment modalities yielded greater improvements of the survival rate and survival duration as compared to palliative treatment in HCC patients. Furthermore, in terms of the effect on the survival period, combined TACE + PEI/RFA therapy was more effective than TACE monotherapy, and also more effective than PEI or RFA monotherapy in cases with multiple tumors fulfilling the Milan criteria.

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