In intermediate stage hepatocellular carcinoma: radioembolization with yttrium 90 or chemoembolization?



Background & Aims

Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is one of the standard treatments recommended for intermediate stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). At the same time, only little is known about the use of radioembolization with Yttrium-90 microspheres (TARE Y-90) for this subset of patients. To perform comparative analysis between both locoregional therapies in intermediate HCCs. Primary endpoint was overall survival (OS), while safety, response rate and time-to-progression (TTP) were considered as secondary endpoints.


We collected data of 86 HCC patients in two university hospitals at which conventional TACE with doxorubicin or TARE Y-90 using glass microspheres were performed. The median observation period was 10 months. Patients were followed up for signs of toxicity and response. They underwent imaging analysis at baseline and follow-up at regular time intervals.


Eighty-six HCC patients with intermediate stage B (BCLC) were treated with either TACE (n = 42) or TARE Y-90 (n = 44). Despite a higher tumour burden in the TARE Y-90 group, the median OS (TACE: 18 months vs. TARE Y-90: 16.4 months) and the median TTP (TACE: 6.8 months vs. TARE Y-90: 13.3 months) were not statistically different. The number of treatment sessions, the average rate of treatment sessions per patient, total hospitalization time and rate of adverse events were significantly higher in the TACE cohort.


In intermediate HCC stage patients, both treatments resulted in similar survival probabilities despite more advanced disease in the TARE Y-90 group. Still, TARE Y-90 was better tolerated and associated with less hospitalization and treatment sessions.