Post-embolization syndrome as an early predictor of overall survival after transarterial chemoembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma

HPB (Oxford). 2015 Dec;17(12):1137-44. doi: 10.1111/hpb.12487. Epub 2015 Sep 16.


Background: Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is the most common treatment for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Post-embolization syndrome (PES) is a common post-TACE complication. The goal of this study was to evaluate PES as an early predictor of the long-term outcome.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study of HCC patients treated with TACE at a tertiary referral centre was performed (2008-2014). Patients were categorized on the basis of PES, defined as fever with or without abdominal pain within 14 days of TACE. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS). Multivariate Cox regression was done to examine the association between PES and OS.

Results: Among 144 patients, 52 (36.1%) experienced PES. The median follow-up for the cohort was 11.4 months. The median and 3-year OS rates were 16 months and 18% in the PES group versus 25 months and 41% in the non-PES group (log rank, P = 0.027). After multivariate analysis, patients with PES had a significantly increased risk of death [hazard ratio 2.0 (95%CI 1.2-3.3), P = 0.011].

Conclusions: PES is a common complication after TACE and is associated with a two-fold increased risk of death. Future studies should incorporate PES as a relevant early predictor of OS and examine the biological basis of this association.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic / adverse effects
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Syndrome
  • Tertiary Care Centers
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome