Complete surgical resection is the mainstay of treatment for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Unfortunately, most patients ultimately develop disease recurrence and the median survival from the time of recurrence is <1 year. The purpose of the current study was to review the authors' experience using bland hepatic arterial embolization to treat recurrent HCC after definitive surgical resection.
The authors reviewed their single-center hepatic embolization database from 1995 through 2004 to identify patients who underwent bland hepatic arterial embolization for disease recurrence. Data analyzed included patient demographics, Okuda stage and Child score, imaging findings, and embolization variables. Recurrence-free survival (from surgery to disease recurrence) and survival time (from recurrence to last follow-up) were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method.
The authors identified 45 patients treated with bland embolization for recurrent HCC after resection. Six patients also underwent ablative therapy after embolization. Of the 45 patients, 42 (93.3%) patients had Okuda Stage 1 disease. The median time to recurrence was 13 months. The median survival after embolization was 46 months, and actuarial survival rates at 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years after recurrence were 86%, 74%, and 47%, respectively, with a median follow-up of 31 months. Patients who developed disease recurrence with a solitary lesion had a significantly improved survival (P = .03) At the time of last follow-up, 3 patients (6.6%) were alive with no evidence of viable disease.
Bland arterial embolization was found to be an effective method of salvage therapy for patients with good liver function with recurrent HCC after prior surgical resection. Patients whose disease recurred with a solitary lesion appear to have a significantly increased survival compared with patients who develop disease recurrence with multiple tumors. A small proportion of patients can be rendered without evidence of viable disease. Cancer 2006. © 2006 American Cancer Society.