Percutaneous ethanol injection of hepatic tumors: single-session therapy with general anesthesia

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1993 Nov;161(5):1065-9. doi: 10.2214/ajr.161.5.8273612.


Objective: We studied the feasibility and the effectiveness of percutaneous ethanol injection, performed with general anesthesia in a single session, for treating malignant hepatic lesions.

Subjects and methods: We treated 30 patients with sonographically guided percutaneous injection of ethanol. Twenty had hepatocellular carcinoma and cirrhosis, and 10 had hepatic metastases, principally from colon cancer. The mean volume of ethanol injected was 57 ml (range, 6-165 ml).

Results: CT showed complete necrosis (up to 8.2 cm) in seven of 10 patients with encapsulated hepatocellular carcinoma and about 90% necrosis in the remaining three patients. In four of these patients, the alpha-fetoprotein level fell from more than 200 ng/ml to less than 20 ng/ml during treatment. In 10 patients with infiltrating hepatocellular carcinoma, about 70-90% necrosis was achieved; in six of these patients, the alpha-fetoprotein level, which had been more than 200 ng/ml, decreased during treatment. In the 10 patients with metastases, more than 50% necrosis was always achieved. Levels of carcinoembryonic antigen decreased after treatment in all patients. In three patients who had cirrhosis with superficial hepatocellular carcinoma, peritoneal hemorrhage occurred but did not require transfusion.

Conclusion: Our results show that percutaneous injection of ethanol in a single session with general anesthesia is feasible and effective and has several advantages over multisession therapy. These include shorter treatment time and the ability to treat larger and more numerous lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesia, General*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / complications
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intralesional
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Neoplasms / complications
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Punctures*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional


  • Ethanol