Number of Nodules but not Size of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Can Predict Refractoriness to Transarterial Chemoembolization and Poor Prognosis

Kazuhiro Katayama, Toshihiro Imai, Yutaro Abe, Tadatoshi Nawa, Noboru Maeda, Katsuyuki Nakanishi, Hiroshi Wada, Keisuke Fukui, Yuri Ito, Isao Yokota, Kazuyoshi Ohkawa


Background: To determine whether response to transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) predicts survival and to identify pretreatment factors associated with TACE response and prognosis.

Methods: Between April and September 2010, 50 patients underwent TACE for hepatocellular carcinoma. Response to TACE was assessed using post-treatment computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and tumor marker levels and classified as Response Poor (P) and Non-poor (NP). Time zero was set to September 30, 2010, and survival rates were analyzed by landmarking. Cumulative survival rates were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared according to grades using the log-rank test; contributing factors to survival were analyzed using a Cox proportional hazards model. Pretreatment factors were analyzed for 109 TACE sessions performed until October 2017, using a multiple logistic regression model. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were generated to determine the best tumor number for predicting response P.

Results: Response P patients showed significantly lower cumulative survival rates than Response NP patients (P < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, tumor number (hazard ratio (HR), 1.475), protein-induced vitamin-K absence-II (HR, 4.539), and the number of previous TACE sessions (HR, 1.472) were identified as pretreatment factors contributing to Response P. Further, pre-treatment platelet count (HR, 0.876) and tumor number (HR, 1.330) were factors contributing to survival in multivariate analysis. ROC curve analysis revealed that the optimal cut-off value to discriminate Response P was 7.5.

Conclusions: Response to TACE can predict survival. Pretreatment tumor number is a useful factor for predicting both TACE response and prognosis.

J Clin Med Res. 2018;10(10):765-771


HCC; TACE; BCLC; Response; Prediction

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