To evaluate the efficacy of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma, the prognostic factors, and the side effects, 72 patients undergoing 170 chemoembolizations with lipiodol-mediated injection of adriamycin were investigated. The 1-, 2-, and 3-year survivals are 83, 61, and 56%, respectively. Significant prognostic factors for survival (by Mantael-Haenszel) are Child-Pugh and Okuda status (p = 0.00001 and p = 0.01 respectively), number of TACE courses (p = 0.002) and of courses completed with embolization (p = 0.05), stabilization or reduction of α-fetoprotein (p = 0.003), and concurrent tamoxifen treatment (p = 0.04). Side effects included fever, pain, increased serum amylase and transaminase levels, and one liver abscess with death of liver failure. In addition, mild hyperglycemia was observed in 19% of patients and severe in 8% (with one hyperosmolar diabetic coma), in the absence of pancreatic damage. In conclusion, transcatheter arterial chemoembolization is useful in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma. Prognostic factors are Child-Pugh and Okuda status, number of TACE courses and of embolizations, changes of α-fetoprotein levels, and association with tamoxifen treatment. The development of mild to severe changes of glucose metabolism suggests that glucose tolerance should be evaluated before and glycemia strictly monitored after each TACE course.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Transcatheter arterial chemoembolizalion
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