Liver, gastrointestinal, and cardiac toxicity in intermediate hepatocellular carcinoma treated with PRECISION TACE with drug-eluting beads: results from the PRECISION V randomized trial

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2011 Oct;197(4):W562-70. doi: 10.2214/AJR.10.4379.


Objective: The purpose of our study was to evaluate hepatic, gastrointestinal, and cardiac toxicity after PRECISION transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) with drug-eluting beads (DEB) versus conventional TACE with doxorubicin in the treatment of intermediate-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Subjects and methods: Two hundred twelve patients (185 men and 27 women; mean age, 67 years) were randomized to TACE with DEB or conventional TACE. The majority of patients (67% in both groups) presented in a more advanced stage. Safety was measured by rate of adverse events (Southwest Oncology Group criteria) and changes in laboratory parameters. Cardiotoxicity was assessed with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) mainly on MRI or echocardiography.

Results: The mean maximum postchemoembolization alanine transaminase increase in the DEB group was 50% less than in the conventional TACE group (p < 0.001) and 41% less in respect to aspartate transaminase (p < 0.001). End-of-study values returned to approximately baseline levels but with greater variability in conventional TACE patients. Treatment-emergent adverse events in the hepatobiliary system organ class occurred in 16.1% of DEB group patients compared with 25% of conventional TACE patients. There were fewer liver toxicity events in the DEB group. There was a small but statistically significant difference in mean change from baseline in LVEF between the two groups of 4 percentage points for the conventional TACE group (95% CI, 0.71-7.3; p = 0.018).

Conclusion: PRECISION TACE with DEB loaded with doxorubicin offers a safe therapy option for intermediate-stage HCC, even in patients with more advanced liver disease.

Trial registration: NCT00261378.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / adverse effects*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / diagnosis
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / etiology*
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic / methods
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / adverse effects*
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Heart Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Microspheres
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Doxorubicin

Associated data