Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE) followed by percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) in the treatment of large hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) lesions.
Methods: Fifteen patients with HCC were treated by means of TAE followed by 6-16 ethanol injections. In 10 patients, the HCC was solitary (3-8 cm); 3 patients had 1, and 2 patients had 2 daughter nodules (3 cm or smaller) in addition. In 12 of 15 main tumors and in 4 of 7 daughter nodules, a tumor capsule was observed by computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.
Results: Combined treatment with TAE and PEI resulted in complete necrosis of 12 of 15 main tumors and 7 of 7 daughter nodules on biopsy. Treatment failure (incomplete necrosis) occurred in 3 unencapsulated main tumors. The 1-year survival rate in 10 patients was 100%.
Conclusion: The combination of TAE and PEI proved to be an effective treatment for large HCC, including those with 1-2 small daughter nodules. The presence of a tumor capsule significantly correlates (p < 0.05) with a favorable outcome of treatment.