Transarterial chemoembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma with drug-eluting microspheres: Preliminary results from an Italian multicentre study

Maurizio Grosso, Claudio Vignali, Pietro Quaretti, Antonio Nicolini, Fabio Melchiorre, Gabriele Gallarato, Irene Bargellini, Pasquale Petruzzi, Cesare Massa Saluzzo, Silvia Crespi, Ilaria Sarti

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The purpose of this article is to present the early results of a multicentre trial using HepaSphere microspheres loaded with chemotherapeutic agents for transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma. From December 2005 to March 2007, 50 patients (36 male and 14 female, mean age 68.4 years) were treated by selective TACE using HepaSphere microspheres loaded with doxorubicin or epirubicin. The diameter of the treated lesions ranged from 20 to 100 mm (mean 42.5; maximum of 4 tumor nodules). Tumor response was evaluated by computed axial tomography according to the World Health Organization criteria as modified by the European Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. All of the procedures were technically successful, and there were no major complications. At 1-month follow-up, complete tumor response was observed in 24 of 50 (48%), partial response in 18 of 50 (36%), and stable disease in 8 of 50 (16%) patients, and there were no cases of disease progression. At 6-month follow-up (31 of 50 patients), complete tumor response was obtained in 16 of 31 (51.6%), partial response in 8 of 31 (25.8%), and progressive disease in 7 of 31 (22.6%) patients. Within the initial 9-month follow-up, TACE with HepaSphere was successfully repeated twice in 3 patients, whereas 3 patients underwent the procedure 3 times. Our initial multicentre experience demonstrates that TACE using HepaSphere is feasible, is well tolerated, has a low complication rate, and is associated with promising tumor response. When complete tumor response in not achieved, additional treatments can be performed without difficulties. Longer follow-up on larger series is mandatory to confirm these preliminary results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1149
Number of pages9
JournalCardioVascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • Drug-loaded microspheres
  • Hepatic embolization
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Interventional radiology
  • TACE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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