Article Abstract

Downstaging unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma by radioembolization using 90-yttrium resin microspheres: a single center experience

Authors: Marco Tabone, Amedeo Calvo, Nadia Russolillo, Serena Langella, Paolo Carbonatto, Roberto Lo Tesoriere, Elisa Richetta, Riccardo Pellerito, Alessandro Ferrero


Background: Only one third of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma can benefit from curative treatments at the time of first diagnosis. Tumor downstaging by radioembolization may enable initially unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to be treated with surgery lenghtening survival.
Methods: From June 2011 through June 2014, all patients with a first diagnosis of unresectable HCC with intrahepatic portal vein thrombosis were treated in our center with radioembolization using 90-yttrium resin microspheres. A 3-year enrollment period and a 5-year follow-up were planned to adequately investigate survivals.
Results: Twenty-four patients were enrolled, five were downstaged to surgery, eight did not reach downstaging but achieved partial response or stable disease, and eleven showed HCC progression despite radioembolization. High tumor absorbed radiation doses (454 vs. 248 and 138 Gy, P=0.005) and low serum AFP levels (53 vs. 1,447 and 4,603 ng/mL, P=0.05) were the variables significantly associated with successful downstaging. Mean and median survivals were 54, 30 and 11 months and 70, 24 and 11 months in the three groups respectively. No severe side effects were registered.
Conclusions: In our center, about 20% of patients with locally advanced unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma were successfully downstaged to surgery after radioembolization. This strategy increases survival and is associated with an excellent safety profile.

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