Purpose: To retrospectively evaluate the relationship between local tumor recurrence and iodized oil deposition in the portal vein by using ultraselective transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) for small hepatocellular carcinoma.
Materials and methods: One-hundred twenty-three tumors smaller than 5 cm in diameter (mean diameter, 1.9 cm; median diameter, 1.6 cm) were treated with TACE by using a 2-F tip microcatheter at a distal portion of the subsegmental artery of the liver. Portal vein visualization at spot radiography during TACE was divided into three grades, as follows: 0 = not visualized, 1 = limited near the tumor, and 2 = whole or extended to the embolized area. Local recurrence rates of each grade group were compared. The recurrent pattern was divided into intratumoral and peritumoral recurrence. Complications were also analyzed.
Results: Of the 123 tumors, 53 (43.1%) were classified as grade 2, 52 (42.3%) were classified as grade 1, and 18 (14.6%) tumors were classified as grade 0. Overall local recurrence rates at 12, 24, and 36 months were 25.6%, 34.7%, and 34.7%, respectively. The local recurrence rates for the grades 2, 1, and 0 groups were 7.9%, 24.8%, and 85.7%, respectively, at 12 months and 17.7%, 38.9%, and 85.7% at 24 months. Recurrence rates in the grade 2 group were significantly lower than those in the grades 1 and 0 groups (P = .0485 and P < .0001, respectively). Intratumoral recurrence was observed in 21 tumors, most of which were in the grade 0 group. Peritumoral recurrence was noted in 16 tumors, most of which were in the grade 2 group. There were no major complications.
Conclusion: Ultraselective TACE was safe and effective in a significant number of tumors. In particular, local recurrence was significantly lower when a greater degree of portal vein visualization was demonstrated during TACE.