PURPOSE: To compare short- and long-term clinical outcomes after conventional transarterial chemoembolization and drug-eluting bead (DEB) transarterial chemoembolization in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with unresectable HCC unsuitable for ablative therapies were randomly assigned to undergo conventional or DEB chemoembolization. The primary endpoints of the study were safety, toxicity, and tumor response at 1 month. Secondary endpoints were number of repeated chemoembolization cycles, time to recurrence and local recurrence, time to radiologic progression, and survival.
RESULTS: In total, 67 patients (mean age, 70 y ± 7.7) were evaluated. Mean follow-up was 816 days ± 361. Two periprocedural major complications occurred (2.9%) that were treated by medical therapy without the need for other interventions. A significant increase in alanine aminotransferase levels 24 hours after treatment was reported, which was significantly greater after conventional chemoembolization (n = 34) than after DEB chemoembolization (n = 33; preprocedure, 60 IU ± 44 vs 74 IU ± 62, respectively; at 24 h, 216 IU ± 201 vs 101 IU ± 89, respectively; P = 0.007). No other differences were observed in liver toxicity between groups. At 1 month, complete and partial tumor response rates were 70.6% and 29.4%, respectively, in the conventional chemoembolization group and 51.5% and 48.5%, respectively, in the DEB chemoembolization group. No differences were observed between groups in time to recurrence and local recurrence, radiologic progression, and survival.
CONCLUSIONS: Conventional chemoembolization and DEB chemoembolization have a limited impact on liver function on short- and long-term follow-up and are associated with favorable clinical outcomes.