Purpose: To evaluate treatment outcome with respect to the indication for treatment in patients with neuroendocrine tumors metastatic to the liver undergoing hepatic artery embolization with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) particles.
Materials and methods: Charts and radiographs were reviewed of 35 patients undergoing 63 separate sessions of embolotherapy between January 1993 and July 1997. Patient demographics, tumor type, indication for embolization, and complications were recorded. Symptomatic and morphologic responses to therapy were noted, as well as duration of response.
Results: Fourteen men and 21 women underwent embolization of 21 carcinoid and 14 islet cell tumors metastatic to the liver. These patients underwent 63 separate episodes of embolotherapy. Of 48 episodes that could be evaluated, response to treatment was noted following 46 episodes (96%). The duration of response was longest in patients treated for hormonal symptoms with (17.5 months) or without (16 months) pain, and was shortest (6.2 months) when the indication was pain alone. Complications occurred after 11 of the 63 embolizations (17%), including four (6%) deaths. Cumulative 5-year survival following embolotherapy was 54%.
Conclusion: Hepatic artery embolization with PVA particles is beneficial for patients with neuroendocrine tumors metastatic to the liver and may be used for control of pain as well as hormonal symptoms. This therapy should be used cautiously when more than 75% of the hepatic parenchyma is replaced by tumor.