Percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) under ultrasonography guidance has been widely tried in not advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Ten years after the introduction of PEI, some conclusions of its indications can be drawn. In our series, 210 cirrhotic patients were treated; 141 with multisession PEI in an outpatient clinic, 57 with "single session" PEI under general anesthesia, and 12 with both. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates (by Kaplan-Meier method) were 93%, 65%, and 41% for Child class A patients with single HCC ≤ 5 cm, and 88%, 47%, and 33% for patients with multiple HCC up to five lesions ≤ 5 cm. In these patients the local recurrence rate was 15% and the new lesion rate at the 5-year follow-up was 74%. One death due to hemorrhage from esophageal varices in a Child class C patient treated by single session PEI occurred. The large number of cirrhotic patients enrolled in ultrasonography screening programs has created a large demand for effective, safe, repeatable, low-cost treatment that can be offered at many centers. PEI meets all these requirements. PEI is proposed as the treatment of choice for the mentioned patients, excluding candidates for liver transplantation and surgical resection according to the predictive adverse factors currently in use. "Single session" technique widened the indications of traditional PEI to larger lesions.
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