Background: We analyzed the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) responses by world health organization (WHO), response evaluation criteria in solid tumor (RECIST), European Association for the Study of Liver (EASL), and modified RECIST (mRECIST) guidelines and correlated with survival after doxorubicin (Adriamycin; Pharmacia & Upjohn, Peapac, NJ). drug-eluting beads transarterial chemoembolization (DEB TACE) in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Patients and methods: The early target and overall imaging responses were studied in 120 consecutive patients treated with DEB TACE for unresectable HCC, using RECIST, WHO, EASL, and mRECIST guidelines on contrast-enhanced dynamic liver MRI. The median period between the DEB TACE and assessment scan was 33.50 days. Survival analyses were carried out with the Kaplan-Meier method and the Cox proportional model.
Results: WHO and RECIST1.1 had poor correlation with survival. mRECIST and EASL had significant correlation with survival with target lesion response rates of 63.3% and 48.3% and with overall response rates of 52.5% and 39.2%, respectively. The responders of EASL and mRECIST had significant median survival (P ≤ 0.0001). Moreover, mRECIST was better than EASL in predicting survival, because the survival difference between responders and non-responders of overall response was statistically significant (P = 0.013) for mRECIST, but not for EASL (P = 0.064).
Conclusions: EASL and mRECIST responses measured on MRI at an early time point after DEB TACE predicted survival. mRECIST response demonstrated higher survival correlation than EASL.