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Transarterial chemoembolization using drug-eluting beads versus lipiodol in the treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma: propensity score matching

J Gastrointest Oncol. 2024 Jun 30;15(3):1101-1111. doi: 10.21037/jgo-24-369. Epub 2024 Jun 27.


BACKGROUND: Since the introduction of drug-eluting beads (DEB), the result comparing transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) using lipiodol, also called conventional transarterial chemoembolization (c-TACE), and DEB-TACE shows considerable controversy. The objective of this study was to compare the safety and efficacy of c-TACE and DEB-TACE to treat unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (uHCC).

METHODS: This retrospective study used propensity score matching (PSM) analysis to analyze clinical data from 113 cases of primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated at our hospital from September 2016 to July 2021. The safety and efficacy of the two treatment modalities were analyzed after 1:1 matching. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS); the secondary endpoints included overall survival (OS), disease control rates (DCRs), and objective response rates (ORRs) at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months, and postoperative complications.

RESULTS: Twenty-nine patients underwent DEB-TACE and 84 received c-TACE; 28 pairs of patients were eventually matched. After matching, baseline characteristics between groups were comparable. The median PFS of the DEB-TACE group was 10 months compared to 6 months in the c-TACE group (P=0.002). The median OS was 23 months in the DEB-TACE group vs. 14 months in the c-TACE group, but the difference was not statistically significant (P=0.265). The ORR at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months in the DEB-TACE group (69%, 78%, 60%, and 52%) were significantly higher than those in the c-TACE group (39%, 39%, 26%, and 8%) (P<0.05). The DCR at postoperative 3 months was significantly higher in the DEB-TACE group (95%) (P<0.05). There was one case of postoperative liver abscess in the DEB-TACE group, and the patient recovered well after drainage. No serious complications occurred.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared to c-TACE, DEB-TACE prolonged PFS and exhibited better short-term ORR with a similar level of safety. However, there was no significant advantage in terms of OS.

PMID:38989437 | PMC:PMC11231842 | DOI:10.21037/jgo-24-369

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