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Keywords:

  • hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • hepatic arterial embolization;
  • lipiodol;
  • subsegmentectomy;
  • liver infarction

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The therapeutic results of nonsurgical treatment for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have been poor, and improved treatments are needed. The authors recently developed a new technique called angiographic subsegmentectomy for the treatment of patients with small HCC.

METHODS

The technique includes confirming the diagnosis of small HCC using a helical computed tomography (CT) scan combined with an angiography system for identifying the tumor-feeding subsegmental hepatic artery, injecting lipiodol containing farmorubicin until it enters the portal vein in sufficient amounts, and injecting sponge particles into the hepatic artery for embolization. Occlusion of the hepatic artery with gel particles and occlusion of the portal vein by lipiodol induce infarction necrosis, which encompasses the entire tumor and the surrounding liver parenchyma.

RESULTS

The treatment was given to 23 patients with 30 HCC tumors that measured < 20 mm in greatest dimension. It was successful in all 23 patients. Serum alanine aminotransferase levels were elevated to a significant level in the majority of patients after treatment, mild ascites developed in three patients, and the patients complained of pain and fever posttreatment that were controlled readily. No patients developed hepatic failure. Only one patient developed recurrent disease posttreatment at 1.5 years, for a recurrence rate of 5% at 1 year and 6.6% at 1.5 years, a rate that has never been achieved with other treatment modalities.

CONCLUSIONS

Angiographic subsegmentectomy is a novel treatment for patients with small HCC. The results indicated that it is equivalent to undergoing small resection and is superior to conventional arterial chemoembolization. Cancer 2003;97:1051–6. © 2003 American Cancer Society.

DOI 10.1002/cncr.11106