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Summary

Background

The safety and survival benefit of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization for patients with huge hepatocellular carcinoma is uncertain.

Aim

To evaluate the role of embolization in unresectable hepatocellular carcinomas larger than 10 cm.

Methods

Twenty-six consecutive patients who had an unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma larger than 10 cm and refused aggressive treatment, were enrolled as the control group. Another 31 patients matching with the control cases and undergoing embolization for huge unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma served as the embolization group. Survival between the two groups was compared.

Results

Two patients (7%) died from embolization-related complications. Patients in embolization group had longer survival than those in control group (median survival: 9.13 vs. 2.1 months). The 1-, 3- and 5-year survival rates in embolization group were 42%, 13% and 7% respectively. The 1- and 3-year survival rates for patients in control group were 8% and 0% respectively. In multivariate analysis, embolization and prothrombin ratio ≤1.2 were two independent factors associated with a better survival.

Conclusions

Embolization-related mortality is low for huge hepatocellular carcinoma, and the technique provides survival benefit in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinomas larger than 10 cm in diameter.