Department of Imaging and Interventional Radiology, Vascular and Interventional Radiology Foundation Clinical Science Center, Department of Clinical Oncology, and Department of Surgery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Room 2A061, 2/F, New Extension Block, Prince of Wales Hospital, 30-32 Ngan Shing St, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR.
Purpose:To compare effectiveness of transarterial ethanol ablation (TEA) and transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma and determine whether TEA leads to better overall survival and tumor response than TACE.Materials and Methods:In this institutional review board-approved preregistered randomized controlled trial (n = 200), informed consent was obtained. Primary outcome was overall survival; secondary outcomes were time to progression (TTP), progression-free survival (PFS), tumor response at computed tomography, and treatment-related toxicity. Eligible patients were randomized at a 1:1 ratio. Treatment included transcatheter delivery of ethiodized oil-ethanol mixture (2:1 ratio by volume up to 60 mL) for TEA and cisplatin-ethiodized oil emulsion (0.5 mg cisplatin per milliliter up to 30 mg), followed by 1-mm gelatin-sponge pellets, for TACE. Study was terminated after interim analysis (n = 98); 90 patients were available for analysis. Overall survival, TTP, and PFS were analyzed with Kaplan-Meier method; differences were compared with log-rank test.Results:Study was terminated prematurely after interim analysis, which showed no difference in overall survival; this was unlikely to change with further patient accrual. Median overall survival in TEA and TACE was 24.3 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 12.8, 32.7) and 20.1 months (95% CI: 9.3, 31.2), respectively (P = .358). Median TTP and PFS for intralesional progression were longer with TEA than TACE (TTP, 34.6 months [95% CI: 28.2, 41] vs 26.05 months [95% CI: 18.7, 33.3]; PFS, 14.8 months [95% CI: 10.2, 19.5] vs 9.3 months [95% CI: 7.1, 11.5]) (P = .028 and 0.029, respectively). Complete response rate on a tumor basis was persistently and significantly higher with TEA at 3 months (62 of 88 [70%] vs 39 of 76 [51%], P = .012), 6 months (64 of 88 [73%] vs 41 of 76 [54%], P = .012), and 12 months (66 of 88 [75%] vs 45 of 76 [59%], P = .031).Conclusion:Although there was no significant difference in overall survival, TEA demonstrated better complete tumor response, longer time to intralesional progression, and longer PFS.© RSNA, 2013Clinical trial registration no. NCT00467974.