Prospective evaluation of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) with multiple anti-cancer drugs (epirubicin, cisplatin, mitomycin c, 5-fluorouracil) compared with TACE with epirubicin for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma

Shinya Sahara, Nobuyuki Kawai, Morio Sato, Takami Tanaka, Akira Ikoma, Kouhei Nakata, Hiroki Sanda, Hiroki Minamiguchi, Motoki Nakai, Shintaro Shirai, Tetsuo Sonomura
Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology 2012, 35 (6): 1363-71

PURPOSE: To compare the efficacy of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) using multiple anticancer drugs (epirubicin, cisplatin, mitomycin C, and 5-furuorouracil: Multi group) with TACE using epirubicin (EP group) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study design was a single-center, prospective, randomized controlled trial. Patients with unrespectable HCC confined to the liver, unsuitable for radiofrequency ablation, were assigned to the Multi group or the EP group. We assessed radiographic response as the primary endpoint; secondary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS), safety, and hepatic branch artery abnormality (Grade I, no damage or mild vessel wall irregularity; Grade II, overt stenosis; Grade III, occlusion; Grades II and III indicated significant hepatic artery damage). A total of 51 patients were enrolled: 24 in the Multi group vs. 27 in the EP group.

RESULTS: No significant difference in HCC patient background was found between the groups. Radiographic response, PFS, and 1- and 2-year overall survival of the Multi vs. EP group were 54% vs. 48%, 6.1 months vs. 8.7 months, and 95% and 65% vs. 85% and 76%, respectively, with no significant difference. Significantly greater Grade 3 transaminase elevation was found in the Multi group (p = 0.023). Hepatic artery abnormality was observed in 34% of the Multi group and in 17.1% of the EP group (p = 0.019).

CONCLUSION: TACE with multiple anti-cancer drugs was tolerable but appeared not to contribute to an increase in radiographic response or PFS, and caused significantly more hepatic arterial abnormalities compared with TACE with epirubicin alone.

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