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Radioembolization Promising in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Longer time-to-progression and less toxicity than chemoembolization

MONDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have similar survival times whether they are treated with chemoembolization or radioembolization with Yttrium-90, but radioembolization results in less toxicity and longer time-to-progression, according to a study in the February issue of Gastroenterology.

Riad Salem, M.D., M.B.A., from Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues analyzed data from 245 HCC patients over a nine-year period. The effectiveness of chemoembolization, a standard of care treatment for HCC, in 122 patients was compared with radioembolization, a new transarterial approach to radiation, which was given to 123 patients. The primary outcome was overall survival, and secondary outcome measures included safety, response rate, and time-to-progression.

The researchers found that patients suffered from significantly more frequent abdominal pain and increased transaminase activity after chemoembolization. Patients treated with radioembolization had higher response rates than those treated with chemoembolization. Time-to-progression was significantly longer after radioembolization than chemoembolization, but the average survival time was not statistically different. For patients with intermediate-stage disease, survival was comparable between the two groups: 17.5 months for chemoembolization and 17.2 months for radioembolization.

"Given the results of this comparative effectiveness analysis, we believe a strong case can be made to consider Yttrium-90 at least equivalent to chemoembolization as one of the standards of care for HCC," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with MDS Nordion, which supported this study.

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