Transarterial chemoembolization in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma beyond Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer- B and portal vein tumor thrombosis: Experience from a tertiary care center

Indian J Cancer. 2021 Jan 27. doi: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_769_19. Online ahead of print.


Background: Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is the preferred treatment for patients with intermediate-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) without portal vein tumor thrombosis (PVTT). However, select patients with advanced HCC and with PVTT have shown improved survival with TACE. This study was undertaken to evaluate the outcome of TACE in patients with HCC beyond Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer- B (BCLC - B) and those with HCC and PVTT.

Methods: Patients with unresectable HCC, subjected to TACE were included. HCC patients with PVTT involving main portal vein and, poor performance status were excluded from the study. Patients were stratified according to performance status, alpha feto protein (AFP) values, and up-to-seven criteria. Individually and using various combinations, the influence of these variables on survival was also estimated.

Results: A total of 50 patients were included in the study. PVTT was present in 12 patients. Clinically, significant liver failure was observed in two patients. The average overall survival of patients beyond BCLC-B following TACE was 13 months. Survival was not influenced by tumor invasion into the portal vein. Patients with higher AFP levels had comparable survival provided their tumor load was satisfying up-to-seven criteria.

Conclusion: We conclude that TACE could improve survival in selective HCC patients beyond BCLC-B and with PVTT not extending to the main portal vein.

Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma; portal vein tumor thrombosis; transarterial chemoembolization; up-to-seven criteria.