Radiation Segmentectomy versus TACE Combined with Microwave Ablation for Unresectable Solitary Hepatocellular Carcinoma Up to 3 cm: A Propensity Score Matching Study

Radiology. 2017 Jun;283(3):895-905. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2016160718. Epub 2016 Dec 7.


Purpose To compare the outcomes of radiation segmentectomy (RS) and transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) combined with microwave ablation (MWA) in the treatment of unresectable solitary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) up to 3 cm. Materials and Methods This retrospective study was approved by the institutional review board, and the requirement to obtain informed consent was waived. From January 2010 to June 2015, a total of 417 and 235 consecutive patients with HCC underwent RS and TACE MWA, respectively. A cohort of 121 patients who had not previously undergone local-regional therapy (RS, 41; TACE MWA, 80; mean age, 65.4 years; 84 men [69.4%]) and who had solitary HCC up to 3 cm without vascular invasion or metastasis was retrospectively identified. Outcomes analyzed included procedure-related complications, laboratory toxicity levels, imaging response, time to progression (TTP), 90-day mortality, and survival. Propensity score matching was conducted by using a nearest-neighbor algorithm (1:1) to account for pretreatment clinical, laboratory, and imaging covariates. Postmatching statistical analysis was performed with conditional logistic regression for binary outcomes and the stratified log-rank test for time-dependent outcomes. Results Before matching, the complication rate was 8.9% and 4.9% in the TACE MWA and RS groups, respectively (P = .46). The overall complete response (CR) rate was 82.9% for RS and 82.5% for TACE MWA (odds ratio, 1.0; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.4, 2.8; P = .95). There were 41 (RS, 11; TACE MWA, 30) instances of progression occurring after an initial CR, of which 10 (24%) were classified as target progression (RS, one; TACE MWA, nine). Median overall TTP was 11.1 months (95% CI: 8.8 months, 25.6 months) in the RS group and 12.1 months (95% CI: 7.7 months, 19.1 months) in the TACE MWA group (P > .99). After matching, the overall CR rate (P = .94), TTP (P = .83), and overall survival (P > .99) were not significantly different between the two groups. The 90-day postoperative mortality rate was 0% in both groups. Conclusion Imaging response and progression outcomes of patients with solitary HCC up to 3 cm treated with RS were not significantly different when compared with those of patients treated with TACE MWA. © RSNA, 2016 Online supplemental material is available for this article.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ablation Techniques
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Microwaves / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Propensity Score
  • Retrospective Studies