Chemoembolization adopting polyethylene glycol drug-eluting embolics loaded with doxorubicin for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma

Camillo Aliberti, Riccardo Carandina, Donatella Sarti, Luca Mulazzani, Enrico Pizzirani, Stefano Guadagni, Giammaria Fiorentini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy and tolerability of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) using polyethylene glycol (PEG) drug-elutable microspheres loaded with doxorubicin for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). SUBJECTS AND METHODS. Forty-two patients with unresectable HCC, as determined by a tumor board, were assigned to undergo TACE and were treated with PEG drug-elutable embolics loaded with doxorubicin. Patients were prospectively enrolled and included 32 (76%) men and 10 (24%) women. Their median age was 65 years (range, 42-83 years). Patients were treated with 50 mg of doxorubicin loaded in 2 mL of PEG embolics (mean [± SD] diameter, 100 ± 25 um) that were infused via a chemoembolization method. Data collected included previous cancer therapy, tumor size, number of lesions, history of TACE, tumor response (at 1, 3, and 6 months), type and intensity of adverse events, and quality of life (QOL) analysis. RESULTS. One month after TACE, the overall tumor response rate was 79% (50% complete response, 29% partial response, 17% stable disease, and 5% progressive disease). At 3 months, the rates were 48% for complete response, 24% for partial response, 24% for stable disease, and 3% for progressive disease. At 6 months, the rates were 43% for complete response, 19% for partial response, 29% for stable disease, and 10% for progressive disease. TACE was well tolerated by all patients, with no evidence of procedure-related complications or systemic drug-related adverse events. Fever (33%), increase in transaminase level (17%), and pain (33%) were the most frequent adverse events, and their intensity was mostly mild (grades 1 and 2). The QOL scores were 80 at 1 month, 81 at 3 months, and 82 at 6 months after TACE. CONCLUSION. These data suggest that PEG embolics are efficacious and safe for the treatment of HCC, as indicated by their good tolerability, QOL scores, and high tumor response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-434
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Chemoembolization
  • Doxorubicin
  • Embolics
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver metastases
  • Polyethylene glycol drug-elutable microspheres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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