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Sequential arterial and portal vein embolizations before right hepatectomy in patients with cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma

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Selective transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and portal vein embolization (PVE) could improve the rate of hypertrophy of the future liver remnant (FLR) in patients with chronic liver disease. This study evaluated the feasibility and efficacy of this combined procedure.


Between November 1998 and October 2004, 36 patients with cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma underwent right hepatectomy after PVE. Additional TACE preceded PVE by 3–4 weeks in 18 patients (TACE + PVE group) and the remaining 18 patients had PVE alone (PVE group).


PVE was well tolerated in all patients. The mean increase in percentage FLR volume was significantly higher in the TACE + PVE group than in the PVE group (mean(s.d.) 12(5) versus 8(4) per cent; P = 0·022). The rate of hypertrophy was more than 10 per cent in 12 patients in the TACE + PVE group and in five who had PVE alone (P = 0·044). Duration of surgery, blood loss, incidence of liver failure and mortality (two patients in each group) were similar in the two groups. None of the 17 patients with an increase in FLR volume of more than 10 per cent died, whereas there were four deaths among 19 patients with a smaller increase. The incidence of complete tumour necrosis was significantly higher in the TACE + PVE group (15 of 18 versus one of 18; P < 0·001), with a higher 5‐year disease‐free survival rate (37 versus 19 per cent; P = 0·041).


Sequential TACE and PVE before operation increases the rate of hypertrophy of the FLR and leads to a high rate of complete tumour necrosis associated with longer recurrence‐free survival. Copyright © 2006 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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