World J Gastrointest Surg. 2020 Aug 27;12(8):355-368. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v12.i8.355.
BACKGROUND: Drug-eluting beads transarterial chemoem-bolization (DEB-TACE) has the advantages of slow and steady release, high local concentration, and low incidence of adverse drug reactions compared to the traditional TACE. DEB-TACE combined with sequentially ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation (RFA) therapy has strong anti-cancer effects and little side effects, but there are fewer related long-term studies until now.
AIM: To explore the outcome of DEB-TACE sequentially combined with RFA for patients with primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: Seventy-six patients with primary HCC who underwent DEB-TACE sequentially combined with RFA were recruited. Forty patients with untreated HCC were included in Group A, and 36 patients with recurrent HCC were included in Group B. In addition, 40 patients with untreated HCC who were treated with hepatectomy were included in Group C. The serological examination, preoperative magnetic resonance imaging examination, and post-treatment computed tomography enhanced examination were performed for all patients. The efficacy was graded as complete remission (CR), partial remission (PR), stable disease and progressive disease at the 3rd, 6th, and 9th. All patients were followed up for 3 years and their overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS) were assessed.
RESULTS: The efficacy of Group A and Group C was similar (P > 0.05), but the alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase and total bilirubin of Group A were lower than those of Group C (all P < 0.05). The proportions of CR (32.5%), PR (37.5%) were slightly higher than Group A (CR: 27.5%, PR: 35%), but the difference was not statistically significant (χ 2 = 0.701, P = 0.873). No operational-related deaths occurred in Group A and Group C. The OS (97.5%, 84.7%, and 66.1%) and the DFS (75.0%, 51.7%, and 35.4%) of Group A at the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year after treatment were similar with those of Group C (OS: 90.0%, 79.7%, and 63.8%; DFS: 80.0%, 59.7%, and 48.6%; P > 0.05). The OS rates in Group A and Group B (90%, 82.3%, and 66.4%) were similar (P > 0.05). The DFS rates in Group B (50%, 31.6%, and 17.2%) were lower than that of Group A (P = 0.013).
CONCLUSION: The efficacy of DEA-TACE combined with RFA for untreated HCC is similar with hepatectomy. Patients with recurrent HCC could get a longer survival time through the combined treatment.