Switching the loaded agent from epirubicin to cisplatin: salvage transcatheter arterial chemoembolization with drug-eluting microspheres for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma

Akihiko Seki, Shinich Hori
Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology 2012, 35 (3): 555-62

PURPOSE: There is no consensus on switching anticancer agents loaded onto drug carriers in transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study aimed to evaluate the safety and clinical outcomes of TACE with cisplatin-loaded microspheres (CLM-TACE) in HCC patients refractory to TACE with epirubicin-loaded microspheres (ELM-TACE).

METHODS: Between February 2008 and June 2010, 85 patients with unresectable HCC refractory to ELM-TACE were enrolled to undergo CLM-TACE. The number of ELM-TACE sessions until judgment of resistance ranged from 1 to 4 (median, 2.1). CLM-TACE was performed using 50-100-μm superabsorbent polymer microspheres loaded with 1 mg cisplatin/1 mg microspheres together with hepatic arterial infusion of 25 mg cisplatin and 500 mg 5-fluorouracil per patient. Tumor responses were evaluated by computed tomography according to the European Association for the Study of the Liver criteria.

RESULTS: The median number of CLM-TACE treatment sessions was 1.8 (range, 1-5), and the mean total dose of cisplatin per session was 42.8 mg (range, 30.0-59.0). After 6 months, 3 (3.5%) patients achieved complete response, 31 (36.5%) had partial response, 15 (17.6%) had stable disease, and 36 (42.4%) had progressive disease. The median overall survival and time to treatment failure after initial CLM-TACE were 13.3 and 7.2 months, respectively. Overall, 9.4% of patients experienced grade 3/4 adverse events.

CONCLUSION: Switching the loaded agent from epirubicin to cisplatin is a safe, well-tolerated, and efficacious treatment strategy for salvage TACE with drug-eluting microspheres in HCC patients refractory to ELM-TACE.

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