Purpose: Approximately, 60–70% of patients with early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) globally are ineligible for the recommended first-line procedures. This study aimed to compare conventional transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (cTACE) with a treatment, small drug-eluting bead TACE (DEB-TACE), in patients with stage 0/A HCCs. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively investigated 76 patients who underwent first-time cTACE (n = 40) or DEB-TACE using 75–150 µm DC Beads® (n = 36) for Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage 0/A HCC < 3 cm at a single tertiary care center between July 2015 and March 2017. Outcome measurements were time to local progression (assessed per modified response evaluation criteria in solid tumors), tumor response at one month and intrahepatic distal recurrence, progression-free survival, overall survival, safety, and toxicity. Results: The study included 60 (78%) men and 16 (21%) women; participant mean age was 65.8 years. Objective response rates between the cTACE and DEB-TACE groups were similar (p > 0.05). Complete and partial 1-month tumor response rates were 60.0% and 22.5%, respectively, in the cTACE group and 69.4% and 25.0%, respectively, in the DEB-TACE group. The abdominal pain grade was significantly lower with DEB-TACE than with cTACE (p = 0.001). AST and ALT levels after tumor treatment with DEB-TACE were significantly lower than those after treatment with cTACE (p = 0.018 and 0.006). Time to local progression, intrahepatic distal recurrence, progression-free survival, and overall survival were not significantly between the DEB-TACE group and the cTACE group (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Time to local progression between groups was not significantly different; however, post-embolic syndrome occurred less frequently in the DEB-TACE group. DEB-TACE appears to be a feasible treatment for small HCCs. Level of Evidence: Level 3.
- Adverse event
- Conventional transcatheter arterial chemoembolization
- Drug-eluting bead transcatheter arterial chemoembolization
- Drug-eluting beads
- Hepatocellular carcinoma