Safety and Efficacy of Transarterial Chemoembolization in Elderly Patients with Intermediate Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Cancers (Basel). 2022 Mar 23;14(7):1634. doi: 10.3390/cancers14071634.


(1) Introduction: Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is the most widely used treatment for intermediate hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), with limited data available in elderly patients. This study compares the safety and efficacy of TACE for HCC in elderly patients (≥70 years) versus younger patients (<70 years). (2) Materials and Methods: Patients treated by a first TACE for HCC at Grenoble-Alpes University Hospital from January 2012 to March 2017 were included. The primary objective was to compare the safety and predictive factors of serious adverse events between groups using univariate and multivariate analyses. Secondary objectives included tumor response and survival analyses. (3) Results: 271 patients were included: 88 elderly and 183 under 70 years. A total of 20.5% of elderly patients experienced serious adverse events versus 21.3% of patients under 70 (p = 0.87). The predictive factors of serious adverse events were Child−Pugh ≥ B7 (p < 0.0001), ECOG ≥ 1 (p = 0.0019), and MELD ≥ 9 (p = 0.0415). The serious adverse event rate was not increased with age (p = 0.87). The objective tumor response rate was 89.5% in elderly versus 78.7% in younger patients (p = 0.03). (4) Conclusion: This study showed similar safety profiles of the first TACE between elderly and younger patients, with comparable efficacy outcomes, suggesting that advanced age should not constitute a limitation in itself in treatment decision-making.

Keywords: elderly patients; intermediate hepatocellular carcinoma; safety; transarterial chemoembolization.