A comparison of chemoembolization with conventional chemotherapy and symptomatic treatment in cirrhotic patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

Yusuf Bayraktar, Ferhun Balkanci, Burhan Kayhan, Bedri Uzunalimoglu, Aytac Gokoz, Yavuz Ozisik, Ahmet Gurakar, David H. Van Thiel, Dincer Firat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: The results of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) in 28 cirrhotic patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were compared to those obtained in 15 cirrhotic patients with HCC treated with systemic chemotherapy, and 14 patients with HCC receiving no specific anti-cancer treatment. Materials and Methods: From November, 1986 through May 1994, 235 patients with HCC were seen by the investigators. Twenty eight of these patients actually received TACE. The chemotherapeutic agent used was mitomycin C mixed with Lipiodol and arterial embolization was achieved using Gelfoam. In 19 of 28 cases treated with TACE, the embolization was limited to an artery feeding the tumor, thereby avoiding Liver cell injury in non-tumor tissue. In 9 others, the main left or right hepatic artery was embolized. The results obtained in these 28 cases were compared to those obtained in 15 patients with HCC larger than 5 cm. who received systemic mitomycin C and doxorubicin chemotherapy and with those obtained in 14 patients who received no specific anti-tumor therapy. Results: One patient died of liver failure related to the TACE and three patients died of bleeding from esophageal varices within weeks of the TACE procedure. Two of the remaining 24 patients are alive with a follow-up of 6 and 22 months. Twenty-six of the 28 patients treated with TACE died within 1 and 28 months of the initiation of the TACE therapy. The mean survival of those receiving TACE was 13.0 months. Chemotherapy without embolization yielded a mean survival of 7.2 months. The mean survival of the patients receiving no specific anti-cancer treatment was only 6.9 months. There was no statistical differences between the survival of those receiving systemic chemotherapy and those receiving no specific treatment. In contrast, the mean survival of the group receiving TACE was significantly greater than, that of either of the other two groups (p < 0.005). Conclusions: These data suggest that TACE provides the best survival for individuals with Larger hepatocellular carcinomas (> 5 cm) not eligible for surgery or percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-687
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemoembolization
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver cirrhosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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