Transarterial chemoembolization combination therapy vs monotherapy in unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma: a meta-analysis

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Abstract

Purpose:

To perform a meta-analysis examining the efficacy of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) alone or in combination with radiofrequency ablation (RFA), percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI), or high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Methods:

Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar were searched through May 31, 2014, using the following keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, transarterial chemoembolization, percutaneous ethanol ablation, percutaneous ethanol injection, radiofrequency ablation, and high-intensity focused ultrasound. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing 1- and 3-year mortality rates in patients with unresectable HCC receiving either TACE alone or TACE in combination with RFA, PEI, or HIFU were included. One- and 3-year survival rates were compared.

Results:

Eleven RCTs were included. The total number of patients ranged from 37 to 189, mean age ranged from 52 to 73 years, and percentage male ranged from 54% to 94%. Overall, TACE alone was associated with higher 1-year mortality than TACE combination therapies (pooled odds ratio [OR] 2.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.37 to 4.43, p = 0.003). The 1-year mortality rate between TACE alone vs TACE + PEI was not different, but TACE + PEI was associated with a significantly lower 3-year mortality as compared to TACE alone (pooled OR 6.02, 95% CI 3.03 to 11.93, p<0.001). The RFA alone was associated with higher 1-year mortality compared with TACE + RFA (pooled OR 2.20, 95% CI 1.11 to 4.32, p = 0.023).

Conclusions:

Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization in combination with percutaneous ablation therapies may improve the survival of patients with unresectable HCC.

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