Conference Coverage

Good survival, outcomes with TARE for HCC in practice



Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can be offered transarterial radioembolization (TARE) as a safe and effective first-line treatment or adjunct to other locoregional therapies, authors of a large multicenter study reported.

Among 422 patients with HCC treated with TARE in eight European countries, the median overall survival was 16.5 months, with fewer than 10% of patients experiencing grade 3 or greater adverse events, reported Frank Kolligs, MD, from Helios Hospital Berlin-Buch.

“This exploratory study evaluated factors that can influence the application and outcome of transarterial radioembolization in clinical practice. TARE is generally applied according to guideline recommendations, and randomized, controlled trials are needed to confirm the effect of personalized dosimetry on the effectiveness of TARE,” he said in an oral abstract presented at the meeting sponsored by the European Association for the Study of the Liver.

Intriguingly, the investigators found evidence suggesting that patients whose treatments were planned using a partition model had better survival outcomes than those patients who treatments were based on calculated body surface area or measured BSA (mBSA), but this finding will need to be explored in more detail, Dr. Kolligs said.

The partition model incorporates variables such as tumor volume and liver volume, shunt fractions, the ratio of radiation uptake between tumor and normal tissues, vascular anatomy and other factors to estimate the optimal dose.

Study design

Dr. Kolligs and colleagues looked at prospective data from the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE) Registry for SIR-Spheres Therapy to evaluate the real-world clinical application of TARE with yttrium Y-90 resin microspheres in Europe, clinical outcomes, safety, and quality of life.

They selected data from centers with a minimum of 10 cases performed in the previous 12 months and at least 40 total cases overall.

The patients included adults 18 years and older scheduled for treatment with Y-90 resin microspheres for primary or metastatic liver tumors, with no specific exclusion criteria. The patients were followed for at least 24 months at recommended intervals of every 3 months. The first patient was enrolled in January 2015, and the last follow-up visit was in December 2019. A total of 422 registry patients had a diagnosis of HCC and were included in the study.

The median age was 68 years (range, 60-74), 80.8% were male, 70.9% had cirrhosis, 14.5% had ascites, and 8.5% had extrahepatic disease. About 32% of patients had one tumor nodule, 33% had two to five nodules, and the remainder had either more than five or an uncountable number.

In all, 14% of patients had Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage A disease, 51.4% had stage B, 33.6% had stage C, and 0.9% stage D.

About one-third of patients had portal vein occlusion. Tumors were in both left and right lobes in 35.5%, the left lobe alone in 12.1%, and the right lobe alone in 52.4%.

Half of all patients (50.2%) received TARE as first-line therapy, 44.8% had it following surgery (17.1%), ablation (14.7%), and/or transarterial chemoembolization (; 23%). In addition, 9.7% of patients received systemic therapy prior to TARE, primarily with sorafenib (Nexavar).

Treatment intent was palliative for 57.3% of patients, and tumor downsizing/downstaging in 32.5% (remainder unspecified).


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