Degradable Starch Microspheres Transarterial Chemoembolization with or without Lipiodol for Liver Metastases from Pancreatic Cancer: A Prospective Randomized Trial

Cancers (Basel). 2023 Oct 31;15(21):5239. doi: 10.3390/cancers15215239.


To evaluate and compare the outcome of patients with liver metastases from pancreatic cancer treated by transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) using two different protocols. In this prospective, randomized, single-center trial, patients were randomly assigned to receive TACE therapy either with degradable starch microspheres (DSM) alone or a combination of Lipiodol and DSM. From the initial 58 patients, 26 patients (13 DSM-TACE, 13 Lipiodol + DSM-TACE) who completed 3 TACE treatments at an interval of four weeks were considered for evaluation of tumor responses. Initial and final MRIs were used to evaluate local therapy response by RECIST 1.1; changes in diameter, volume, ADC value, and survival rate were statistically evaluated. The differences between the DSM-TACE and Lipiodol + DSM-TACE were identified for partial response (PR) as 15.4% versus 53.8%, stable disease (SD) as 69.2% versus 46.2%, progressive disease (PD) as 15.4% versus 0%, respectively (p = 0.068). Median overall survival times for DSM-TACE and Lipiodol + DSM-TACE were 20 months (95% CI, 18.1-21.9) and 23 months (95% CI, 13.8-32.2), respectively (p = 0.565). The one-year survival rates for DSM-TACE and Lipiodol + DSM-TACE were 85.4% and 60.4%, the two-year survival rates were 35.9% and 47.7%, and the three-year survival rates were 12% and 30.9%, respectively. The evaluated local therapy response by RECIST 1. was not significantly different between the two studied groups. A longer overall survival time was observed after Lipiodol + DSM-TACE therapy; however, it was not significantly different.

Keywords: Lipiodol; degradable starch microspheres; liver metastases; pancreatic cancer; transarterial chemoembolization.

Grants and funding

This research was funded by a grant from PharmaCept GmbH, Berlin, Germany.