Brief Article
Copyright ©2013 Baishideng Publishing Group Co., Limited. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Jul 14, 2013; 19(26): 4192-4199
Published online Jul 14, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i26.4192
Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization followed by immediate radiofrequency ablation for large solitary hepatocellular carcinomas
Zhi-Jun Wang, Mao-Qiang Wang, Feng Duan, Peng Song, Feng-Yong Liu, Zhong-Fei Chang, Yan Wang, Jie-Yu Yan, Kai Li
Zhi-Jun Wang, Mao-Qiang Wang, Feng Duan, Peng Song, Feng-Yong Liu, Zhong-Fei Chang, Yan Wang, Jie-Yu Yan, Kai Li, Department of Interventional Radiology, PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China
Author contributions: Wang ZJ contributed to the design of the project, development of the combined strategy and preparation of the paper; Wang MQ contributed to conception of the project and administrative support; Duan F, Song P, Liu FY, Chang ZF and Li K assisted in the performance of the procedure; Wang Y and Yan JY collected and assembled the data.
Correspondence to: Mao-Qiang Wang, Director and Professor, Department of Interventional Radiology, PLA General Hospital, 28 Fuxing Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100853, China.
Telephone: +86-10-66936746 Fax: +86-10-66936327
Received: May 1, 2013
Revised: June 21, 2013
Accepted: July 5, 2013
Published online: July 14, 2013

AIM: To assess the technical safety and efficacy of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) combined with immediate radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for large hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) (maximum diameter ≥ 5 cm).

METHODS: Individual lesions in 18 patients with HCCs (mean maximum diameter: 7.5 cm; range: 5.1-15.5 cm) were treated by TACE combined with percutaneous RFA between January 2010 and June 2012. All of the patients had previously undergone one to four cycles of TACE treatment. Regular imaging and laboratory tests were performed to evaluate the rate of technical success, technique-related complications, local-regional tumor responses, recurrence-free survival time and survival rate after treatment.

RESULTS: Technical success was achieved for all 18 visible HCCs. Complete response (CR) was observed in 17 cases, and partial response was observed in 1 case 1 mo after intervention. The CR rate was 94.4%. Local tumors were mainly characterized by coagulative necrosis. During follow-up (2-29 mo), the mean recurrence-free survival time was 16.8 ± 4.0 mo in 17 cases of CR. The estimated overall survival rate at 6, 12, and 18 mo was 100%. No major complications were observed. Levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in the blood of 17 patients transiently increased on the third day after treatment (ALT 200.4 ± 63.4 U/L vs 24.7 ± 9.3 U/L, P < 0.05; AST 228.1 ± 25.4 U/L vs 32.7 ± 6.8 U/L, P < 0.05). Severe pain occurred in three patients, which was controlled with morphine and fentanyl.

CONCLUSION: TACE combined with immediate RFA is a safe and effective treatment for large solitary HCCs. Severe pain is a major side effect, but can be controlled by morphine.

Keywords: Large hepatocellular carcinoma, Transcatheter arterial chemoembolisation, Radiofrequency ablation, Combination therapy, Synchronism

Core tip: Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) immediately followed by radiofrequency ablation (RFA) under digital subtraction angiography-computed tomography is used to treat large hepatocellular carcinomas. This technology can improve the synergistic treatment effects of TACE and RFA, as well as reduce the need for repeated treatments and amount of radiation exposure. Furthermore, different treatment technologies are fused into one machine, thereby simplifying the operational process. TACE immediately followed by RFA enhances tumor inactivation ability, decreases recurrence rates, prolongs patient survival time and improves prognosis.