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Comparison of intra-arterial chemoembolization with and without radiotherapy for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma with portal vein tumor thrombosis: a meta-analysis

Authors Zhao Q, Zhu K, Yue J, Qi Z, Jiang S, Xu X, Feng R, Wang R

Received 31 October 2016

Accepted for publication 30 November 2016

Published 22 December 2016 Volume 2017:13 Pages 21—31


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Deyun Wang

Qianqian Zhao,1,2 Kunli Zhu,2 Jinbo Yue,2 Zhonghua Qi,1,2 Shumei Jiang,2 Xiaoqing Xu,2 Rui Feng,2 Renben Wang2

1School of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Jinan-Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, 2Department of Radiation Oncology, Shandong Cancer Hospital affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, People’s Republic of China

Purpose: Numerous studies have tried to combine transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) or hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy (HAIC) with radiotherapy (RT) for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients with portal vein tumor thrombus (PVTT). However, the efficacy of TACE or HAIC combined with RT versus TACE or HAIC alone remains controversial. Thus, we performed a meta-analysis to compare the efficacy and safety of intra-arterial chemoembolization combined with RT versus intra-arterial chemoembolization alone for the treatment of HCC patients with PVTT.
Methods: PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were systematically searched for eligible studies. Two authors independently reviewed the abstracts, extracted relevant data and rated the quality of studies. The major end points were objective response rate (ORR), overall survival (OS), and adverse events.
Results: Eight studies with a total of 1,760 patients were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled results showed that intra-arterial chemoembolization combined with RT significantly improved ORR of PVTT (OR, 4.22; 95% CI, 3.07–5.80; P<0.001) and OS (HR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.57–0.83; P=0.001), but did not affect ORR of primary liver tumor (OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 0.67–2.79; P=0.390). The incidence of grade 3 or 4 leukopenia (OR, 5.80; 95% CI, 2.478–13.56; P<0.001) and thrombocytopenia (OR, 3.77; 95% CI, 1.06–13.43; P=0.041) was higher in the intra-arterial chemoembolization plus RT group than in the intra-arterial chemoembolization group.
Conclusion: Combination therapy of intra-arterial chemoembolization and RT for HCC patients with PVTT could bring higher ORR of PVTT and better survival benefits. This combination therapy was also associated with a significantly increased risk of adverse events. However, they were mostly mild to moderate and successfully treated with conservative treatment.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, portal vein tumor thrombus, intra-arterial chemoembolization, radiotherapy, meta-analysis

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