Transarterial Chemoembolization and (90)Y Radioembolization for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Review of Current Applications Beyond Intermediate-Stage Disease

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2015 Oct;205(4):742-52. doi: 10.2214/AJR.15.14802.


Objective: The practice guideline of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases currently recommends transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) for the treatment of intermediate-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The use of transarterial radioembolization (TARE) using (90)Y microspheres is not formally recommended. This article discusses the current clinical applications of TACE and TARE and compares the clinical utility of these techniques for various subpopulations of patients with HCC.

Conclusion: For most clinical scenarios, the efficacy and safety of TACE and TARE are probably equivalent. However, TARE appears to have an advantage over TACE in the facilitation of surgical resection by resulting in compensatory hypertrophy of the future liver remnant and possibly in the treatment of patients with portal vein tumor thrombus. On the contrary, TACE is the transarterial treatment of choice for patients with marginal hepatic reserve (i.e., hyperbilirubinemia, ascites) who may be candidates for transplant.

Keywords: 90Y radioembolization; hepatocellular carcinoma; transarterial chemoembolization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Hepatic Artery
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Microspheres*
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes / administration & dosage*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes