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Reuters Health Information (2009-05-14): Arterial embolization useful in cases of liver tumor rupture


Arterial embolization useful in cases of liver tumor rupture

Last Updated: 2009-05-14 13:50:01 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Transcatheter arterial embolization appears to increase survival in cirrhotic patients who sustain spontaneous rupture of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), Japanese researchers report in an April 30th publication in BMC Gastroenterology.

Dr. Satoru Saito of Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine and colleagues observe that although the condition is rare, mortality is high.

To gain further information on associated factors, the researchers conducted a retrospective study of 48 patients. Spontaneous rupture was the initial HCC symptom in four patients. In the remaining 44, spontaneous rupture of HCC was diagnosed during the follow-up for liver cirrhosis or HCC.

Some 16 patients of these patients underwent transcatheter arterial embolization and the remainder received conservative treatment.

Median survival in the embolization group was more than 244 days. However, it was just over 13 days in the conservative treatment group.

The embolization group had an 87.5% survival at 1 month, compared to 6.3% in the conservative group. Moreover, survival rates in embolization patients were 23.4% at 1 year and 15.6% at 2 years.

The embolization procedure was initially successful in all but 1 of the 16 patients, and a maximum tumor size of 7 cm was the only independent factor that influenced long-term survival.

The researchers conclude that "The early mortality rate among patients with ruptured HCC depends on the immediate treatment provided. Transcatheter arterial embolization is often feasible and is the treatment of choice for ruptured HCC."

BMC Gastroenterol 2009;9.

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