Background: To compare oncological results and safety profile of balloon micro-catheter trans-arterial chemoembolization (b-TACE) and drug-eluting-microsphere (DEM-TACE) in patients with hepatocellular-carcinoma (HCC).
Methods: This is a case-control, retrospective, single-center study. Between January-2015/March-2019, 149 patients (131 males [87.9%]) with 226 HCC were treated, 22 patients (35 HCC; 19 [86.4%] males) with b-TACE and 127 with DEM-TACE (191 HCC, 112 [88.2%] males). Embolization protocol was standardized (sequential 100 ± 25 and 200 ± 25 μm microspheres). Results were evaluated by modified-response-evaluation-criteria-in-solid-tumor [mRECIST] at 1, 3-6 and 9-12 months and time to recurrence after complete response [TTR] at 1 years. Cox's regression weighted with tumor dimensions was performed. Adverse events (AEs) were recorded.
Results: mRECIST oncological response at all time points (1, 3-6 and 9-12 months) for both treatments were similar, with the exception of Objective response rate at 9-12 months. Objective response at 1 and 3-6 months between b-TACE vs DEM-TACE [23/35 (65.7%) vs 119/191 (62.3%), 21/29 (72.4%) vs 78/136 (57.4%) (p > 0.05), respectively]. On the contrary, at 9-12 months, it was significantly higher in b-TACE subgroup than DEM-TACE (15/19 [78.9%] vs 48/89 [53.9%], p = 0.05). TTR for complete response at 1 year had a better trend for b-TACE vs DEM-TACE (278.0 days [196.0-342.0] vs 219.0 days [161.0-238.0], OR 0.68 [0.4-1.0], p = 0.10). The use of balloon micro-catheter reduced the relative risk of the event of recurrence by 0.63 [CI95% 0.38-1.04]; p = 0.07). No significant differences were found in AEs rate.
Conclusion: b-TACE showed a trend of better oncological response over DEM-TACE with and longer TTR with a similar adverse events rate, in patients presenting with larger tumors.
Keywords: Balloon micro-catheter; Balloon-occluded trans-catheter arterial chemoembolization (b-TACE); Drug eluting microsphere trans arterial chemoembolization (DEM-TACE); Hepatocellular-carcinoma (HCC); Oncological comparison; Safety profile; Trans-catheter-arterial chemoembolization (TACE).