Lipiodol transarterial chemoembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma: A systematic review of efficacy and safety data

Hepatology. 2016 Jul;64(1):106-16. doi: 10.1002/hep.28453. Epub 2016 Mar 7.


Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) using lipiodol-based regimens, including the administration of an anticancer-in-oil emulsion followed by embolic agents, is widely used in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This approach has been supported by meta-analyses of randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) performed more than a decade ago. We performed a systematic review to understand current efficacy and safety data of lipiodol TACE in treatment of HCC. A search of the literature published between January 1, 1980 and June 30, 2013 was performed using MEDLINE and EMBASE databases. All potentially relevant publications were reviewed and articles were selected based on predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Of a total of 1,564 articles reviewed, 101 articles, including a total of 10,108 patients treated with lipiodol TACE, were selected for the efficacy analysis. Objective response rate was 52.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 43.6-61.5). Overall survival (OS) was 70.3% at 1 year, 51.8% at 2 years, 40.4% at 3 years, and 32.4% at 5 years. Median OS was 19.4 months (95% CI: 16.2-22.6). A total of 217 articles presenting precise description on numbers of adverse events (AEs) were selected for the safety review: In these studies, a total of 21,461 AEs were reported in 15,351 patients. Liver enzyme abnormalities were the most commonly observed AE, followed by the symptoms associated with postembolization syndrome. Overall mortality rate was 0.6% and the most common cause of death was related to acute liver insufficiency.

Conclusions: In a systematic literature review, survival figures of HCC patients undergoing lipiodol TACE appear to be in line with those reported in previous RCTs, and no new or unexpected safety concerns were identified. (Hepatology 2016;64:106-116).

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic*
  • Ethiodized Oil / administration & dosage*
  • Ethiodized Oil / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Ethiodized Oil