Preoperative chemoembolization in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma undergoing liver transplantation: Influence of emergent versus elective procedures on patient survival and tumor recurrence rate

A. H. Stockland, E. M. Walser, R. Paz-Fumagalli, J. M. McKinney, G. R. May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Our purpose was to compare the recurrence rate and survival in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who had elective transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), immediate preoperative TACE, or no treatment prior to orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). A total of 132 patients with HCC had TACE prior to OLT. Eighteen patients had no TACE before OLT and functioned as a control group. The urgent group included 35 patients embolized less than 24 h before OLT and the elective group included 97 patients embolized greater than 1 day before transplantation. These groups were compared with regard to tumor staging, hepatic synthetic function, and post-TACE tumor necrosis and survival and recurrence rates. Patients were followed for a mean of 780 days post OLT (1-2912 days). The tumor staging was similar between groups but the Childs-Pugh score in the urgent and untreated group was significantly higher than that of the other groups. The degree of necrosis at explant was also significantly different between the two treated groups, with an average 35% necrosis in the patients embolized less than 24 h before OLT vs 77% in the elective group (p < 0.002). Recurrence rate in the urgent group was 8 of 35 (23%) in a median of 580 days, 20 of 97 (21%) in a median of 539 days in the elective group, and 2 of 18 (11%) in a median of 331 days in the no-TACE group. Survival at 1, 3, and 5 years was 91%, 80%, and 72% in the elective group, 79%, 58%, and 39% in the urgent group, and 69%, 61%, and 41% in the no-TACE group, respectively. The urgent and no-TACE groups had significantly worse survival compared with the other groups; however, the tumor recurrence rates were statistically the same among all three groups. TACE within 24 h of OLT causes an average of 35% necrosis and elective TACE increases necrosis further to 77%. Despite this difference, the tumor recurrence rate in the three groups is equivalent and no different from that in the group that received no treatment before OLT. The decreased survival in the immediate and no-TACE groups was due to non-cancer-related deaths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)888-893
Number of pages6
JournalCardioVascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007
Externally publishedYes



  • Hepatocelllular carcinoma
  • Orthotopic liver transplantation
  • Transarterial chemoembolization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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