Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is considered the gold standard for treating intermediate-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, intermediate-stage HCC includes a heterogeneous population of patients with varying tumour burdens, liver function (Child-Pugh A or B) and disease aetiology. This suggests that not all patients with intermediate-stage HCC will derive similar benefit from TACE, and that some patients may benefit from other treatment options. Results of an extensive literature review into the treatment of unresectable HCC with TACE were combined with our own clinical experience to identify factors that may predict survival after TACE. We also report contraindications to TACE and propose a treatment algorithm for the repetition of TACE. In addition, we have constructed a number of expert opinions that may be used as a guide to help physicians make treatment decisions for their patients with intermediate-stage HCC. The data included in the literature review related almost exclusively to conventional TACE, rather than to TACE with drug-eluting beads. Therefore, the findings and conclusions of the literature review are only applicable to the treatment of HCC with conventional TACE. Treating physicians may want to consider other treatment options for patients with intermediate-stage HCC who are not suitable for or do not respond to TACE. By distinguishing those patients who represent good candidates for TACE from those where little or no benefit might be expected, it may be possible to make better use of current treatment options and improve outcomes for patients.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Intermediate stage
- Transarterial chemoembolization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging