Background: Transarterial (chemo-)embolization/lipiodolization (TAE/TAL) might be an attractive minimally invasive alternative to surgery in the treatment of symptomatic hepatic haemangioma. This review assesses the efficacy and safety of TAE/TAL as primary treatment for symptomatic hepatic haemangioma.
Methods: A systematic search of the literature was performed by two reviewers following the PRISMA guidelines. Cohort studies and case reports were identified; outcomes of cohort studies were reported. The primary efficacy outcome was tumour size before and after TAE/TAL. Improvement of symptoms and quality of life (QoL) were secondary outcomes; the primary safety outcome was complications. The Downs and Black statement was used for quality assessment.
Results: Eighteen cohort studies were identified, including 1284 patients. TAE/TAL led to a decrease in tumour size in 1100/1223 (89.9%) patients and to improvement or disappearance of symptoms in 1080/1096 (98.5%) patients. A significant decrease in tumour size from 9.79 ± 0.79 cm to 4.00 ± 1.36 cm (p < 0.001) was shown. Grade 3 complications occurred in 37/1284 (2.9%) patients. Surgical treatment was necessary in 35/1284 (2.7%) of patients.
Conclusion: TAE/TAL appears to be a promising and safe treatment to decrease tumour size of hepatic haemangioma. The technique might also provide partial relief of symptoms, although no randomized clinical trials or prospective studies using validated QoL questionnaires are available. TAE/TAL may be considered as a viable alternative to resection.
Keywords: Benign liver tumour; Embolization; Hepatic haemangioma; Interventional radiology; Lipidolization; Transarterial chemoembolization.