Purpose: To compare the effectiveness and toxicity of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (chemoembolization) and yttrium-90-labeled microspheres (radioembolization) in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Materials and Methods: Outcomes from patients who underwent radioembolization or chemoembolization as the only treatment for unresectable HCC from 1996 to 2006 were compared. Response was assessed with Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, survival was assessed with the Kaplan-Meier method, and toxicity was graded with National Cancer Institute criteria. Multivariate analysis for factors affecting survival was performed. Results: Seventy-one patients were treated with either chemoembolization (n = 44, 62%) or radioembolization (n = 27, 38%). Treatment groups were similar in age, sex, Child class, Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score, tumor size, and vascular invasion. Progressive disease at 3 months was observed in 16 (36%) of the 44 patients treated with chemoembolization and nine (33%) of the 27 patients treated with radioembolization (P = not statistically significant). The median overall survival was similar for both groups (6 months with chemoembolization vs 6 months with radioembolization, P= .7). Grade 3 or higher toxicity was observed in 24 of the 71 patients (34%). Tumor multifocality, vascular invasion, and hepatitis C seropositivity were independently associated with worse survival, whereas method of treatment was not. Conclusions: In this single-center study, preliminary evidence suggests that chemoembolization and radioembolization provided similar effectiveness and toxicity in patients with unresectable HCC. © 2010 SIR.
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