OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relation between angiographic embolic endpoints of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and the survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study was a retrospective assessment of the cases of 105 patients with surgically unresectable HCC who underwent TACE. The cases were classified according to a previously established subjective angiographic chemoembolization endpoint scale. Only one patient had endpoint level I embolization and was excluded from all subsequent analysis. Survival was evaluated with Kaplan-Meier analysis. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to determine independent prognostic risk factors of survival.
RESULTS: The overall median survival period was 21.1 months (95% CI, 15.9-26.4 months). Patients with embolization to subjective angiographic chemoembolization endpoint levels II and III were aggregated and had a significantly longer median survival period (25.6 months; 95% CI, 16.2-35.0 months) than patients with embolization to level IV (17.1 months; 95% CI, 13.3-20.9 months) (p = 0.035). The results of multivariate analysis indicated that all of the following factors were independent negative prognostic indicators of survival: subjective angiographic chemoembolization endpoint level IV (hazard ratio [HR], 2.49; 95% CI, 1.41-4.42; p = 0.002), European Cooperative Oncology Group performance status greater than 0 (HR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.15-3.37; p = 0.013), American Joint Committee on Cancer stage III or IV (HR, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.27-4.60; p = 0.007), and Child-Pugh class B (HR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.09-3.46; p = 0.025).
CONCLUSION: Embolization to an intermediate, substasis endpoint (subjective angiographic chemoembolization endpoint levels II and III) during TACE improves survival compared with embolization to a higher, stasis endpoint (level IV). Interventional oncologists should consider aiming for these intermediate, substasis angiographic endpoints during TACE.