Comparison of Triple-Drug Transcatheter Arterial Chemoembolization (TACE) with Single-Drug TACE using doxorubicin-eluting beads: Long-Term survival in 313 patients

Antoinette S. Gomes, Phillip A. Monteleone, James W. Sayre, Richard S. Finn, Saeed Sadeghi, Myron J. Tong, Carolyn D. Britten, Ronald W. Busuttil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. We compared survival outcomes in 313 patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with two different transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) regimens: triple-drug TACE or single-drug TACE using drug-eluting beads. MATERIALS AND METHODS. In this retrospective study, patient selection criteria were uniform. The triple-drug group (n = 166) underwent TACE using ethiodized oil with doxorubicin, cisplatin, and mitomycin-C with a microsphere embolic. The single-drug group (n = 147) underwent TACE using doxorubicin-eluting beads. Group characteristics were classified and analyzed, and survival was calculated using standard statistical methods. All patients were followed until death. Those undergoing orthotopic liver transplant (OLT) were also followed. RESULTS. There were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of demographics, Child-Pugh class, or Okuda stage. With patients undergoing OLT censored (n = 73), the mean (± standard error) survival in the triple-drug group was 23.49 ± 2.38 months, and the median survival was 16.00 ± 1.51 months. Mean survival in the single-drug bead group was 28.16 ± 2.75 months, and the median survival was 15.00 ± 1.50 months (p = 0.168). With patients undergoing OLT censored, the mean and median survival for the total cohort were 26.25 ± 1.97 and 15.00 ± 1.08 months, respectively. In the entire cohort that did not undergo OLT, patients with Child-Pugh class A disease survived significantly longer than did patients with Child-Pugh class B disease. Elevated -fetoprotein levels were associated with shorter survival, and patients undergoing TACE with drug-eluting beads had shorter hospital stays. Although a greater percentage annual survival was observed in patients undergoing drug-eluting bead TACE who had Child-Pugh class A, Okuda stage I, and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer classes A and B disease starting at 36 months, this suggested survival advantage did not reach statistical significance. CONCLUSION. We found no significant survival difference in patients with unresectable HCC treated with triple-drug TACE compared with single-drug TACE using doxorubicin-eluting beads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)722-732
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Drug-eluting beads
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver cancer
  • Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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