Histopathologic examination was done on 18 cases after percutaneous ethanol injection therapy (PEIT) for hepatocellular carcinoma. In eight cases, the lesion was treated by PEIT alone; in the other ten cases, PEIT was combined with transcatheter arterial embolization. The lesion was completely necrotic in 13 cases, 90% necrotic in four cases, and 70% necrotic in the rest. In addition, PEIT seemed to be effective against intercapsular, extracapsular, and vascular invasions. In the four cases of incomplete necrosis, the viable cancer tissue remained in small tumor nodules around the main tumor, in portions isolated by septa, or along the edge of the lesion. Therefore, ethanol should be injected not only into the center of the lesion, but also into sites close to its edge. Ethanol did not damage noncancerous liver parenchyma distant from injected sites. Local dissemination of the cancer cells was not found in any case. Therefore, PEIT seems to be a valuable therapy and may be an alternative to surgery in some cases.