Bland embolization versus chemoembolization of hepatocellular carcinoma before transplantation
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There is conflicting literature regarding the superiority of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) versus bland transarterial embolization (TAE), and this has not been well studied before transplantation. Twenty-five TAE patients were matched in a 1:2 ratio with TACE patients by the initial radiographic tumor size and number in a retrospective, case-controlled study. The patients were otherwise treated according to the same protocols. The method of embolization was chosen on the basis of interventionalist practices at 2 sites within the program. Kaplan-Meier survival analyses at 1 and 3 years were the primary endpoints. There were no significant demographic differences between the groups. The mean adjusted Model for End-Stage Liver Disease scores at transplantation and waiting times were not significantly different between the TAE and TACE patients (MELD scores: 26 ± 3 versus 24 ± 3 points, P = 0.12; waiting times: 13 ± 8 versus 11 ± 10 months, P = 0.43). TAE patients (16%) were less likely than TACE patients (40%) to require 2 procedures (P = 0.04). Explant tumors were completely necrotic for 36% of the TAE patients and for 26% of the TACE patients. The 3-year overall survival rates were 78% for the TAE patients and 74% for the TACE patients (P = 0.66), and the 3-year recurrence-free survival rates were 72% for the TAE patients and 68% for the TACE patients (P = 0.67). On an intention-to-treat basis, there was no significant risk of wait-list dropout associated with TAE or TACE (P = 0.83). In conclusion, there were no significant differences in wait-list dropout or in overall or recurrence-free survival between HCC patients undergoing TAE and HCC patients undergoing TACE before transplantation.
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