Transvenous pulmonary chemoembolization (TPCE) for palliative or neoadjuvant treatment of lung metastases

Eur Radiol. 2019 Apr;29(4):1939-1949. doi: 10.1007/s00330-018-5757-8. Epub 2018 Oct 18.


Purpose: To retrospectively evaluate tumor response, local tumor control, and patient survival after the treatment of pulmonary metastases using transpulmonary chemoembolization (TPCE) in palliative and neoadjuvant intent.

Materials and methods: One hundred forty-three patients (mean age 56.7 ± 13.4 years) underwent repetitive TPCE (mean number of sessions 5.8 ± 2.9) between June 2005 and April 2017 for the treatment of unresectable lung metastases, not responding to systemic chemotherapy. Patients had predominant lung metastases with bilateral lung involvement in 80.4% of the cases. Regional delivery of the chemotherapeutic agents was performed through selective catheterization of the tumor-supplying pulmonary arteries with subsequent injection of iodized oil and microspheres. Patients, who underwent subsequent ablation (n = 51), either for all lesions (complete) or dominant lesions (incomplete), constituted the neoadjuvant group, and those who underwent TPCE alone represented the palliative treatment intent (n = 92). The response was assessed according to the revised Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST).

Results: Partial response was achieved in 11.9% (n = 17), stable disease in 66.4% (n = 95), and progressive disease in 21.7% (n = 31). The mean survival time and time to progression were 24.5 ± 1.7 and 7.5 ± 0.5 months, respectively. The mean survival time was shorter for the palliative group (19.7 ± 2), compared to the neoadjuvant group (30.1 ± 2.6 months). The use of TPCE alone or with incomplete ablation had a significantly increased hazard of death of 4.6- (p = 0.002) and 3.1-fold (p = 0.027), respectively, in comparison with TPCE with subsequent complete ablation.

Conclusion: TPCE has the potential to improve local tumor control and to prolong survival with a neoadjuvant potential when combined with ablation therapy.

Key points: • Transpulmonary chemoembolization (TPCE) is a locoregional technique for delivering chemotherapy in higher intratumoral concentrations and with reduced systemic toxicity. • TPCE can be an alternative treatment for patients with pulmonary metastases who failed prior systemic chemotherapy or with post-operative recurrence. • The current retrospective study revealed that TPCE is a feasible treatment option for patients with unrespectable lung secondaries in both palliative and neoadjuvant intent and has the potential of improving local control and prolonging survival.

Keywords: Interventional radiology; Lung neoplasms; Neoadjuvant therapy; Palliative care; Therapeutic chemoembolization.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic / mortality
  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Microspheres
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / methods
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / mortality
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult