Objective: To study high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) therapy combined with transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) in the treatment of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods: Fifty patients with unresectable HCC (TNM stage IV) were randomized into a TACE (T) group and a TACE plus HIFU (T + H) group. Twenty-six patients underwent TACE alone, and 24 HIFU ablation 2 - 3 weeks after TACE. The mean follow-up time for all patients was 8.16 +/- 2.79 months (range 3 to 24 months). The median survival, 6-month-, 1-year survival rates and average survival of patients who died were calculated by Kaplan-Meier method and Fisher exact test.
Results: The median survival time, 6-month and 1-year survival rates were 11.3 months, 80.4 - 85.4% and 42.9% in T + H group, in contrast to 4 months, 13.2% and 0% in T group with significant differences (P < 0.01). The average survival time of patients who died was 10.21 +/- 4.12 months in T + H group, as compared with 4.35 +/- 2.39 months in T group also with significant differences (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: High intensity focused ultrasound therapy (HIFU) combined with transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE), being better than TACE alone, may become one of the most effective treatments for patients with unresectable HCC.