Liver/biliary injuries following chemoembolisation of endocrine tumours and hepatocellular carcinoma: Lipiodol vs. drug-eluting beads

Boris Guiu, Frédéric Deschamps, Serge Aho, Flore Munck, Clarisse Dromain, Valérie Boige, David Malka, Sophie Leboulleux, Michel Ducreux, Martin Schlumberger, Eric Baudin, Thierry De Baere

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137 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Transarterial chemoembolisation (TACE) is usually performed by injecting an emulsion of a drug and iodised oil. Drug-eluting beads (DEBs) have undeniable pharmacological advantages by offering simultaneous embolisation and sustained release of the drug to the tumour. No data are currently available on liver/biliary injury following DEB-TACE. This study describes and compares liver/biliary injuries encountered with TACE in tumours developed in cirrhotic (hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)) and non-cirrhotic (endocrine tumours (NETs)) livers. Methods: In consecutive patients treated for a well-differentiated metastatic NET (n = 120) or a HCC (n = 88), 684 CT- and MR-scans were analysed. Liver/biliary injuries were classified as follows: dilated bile duct, portal vein narrowing, portal venous thrombosis and biloma/liver infarct. A generalised estimating equation logistic regression model was used. Results: A liver/biliary injury followed 17.2% (82/476) of sessions in 30.8% (64/208) of patients. The occurrence of liver/biliary injury was associated with DEB-TACE (OR = 6.63; p <0.001) irrespectively of the tumour type. Biloma/parenchymal infarct was strongly associated with both DEB-TACE (OR = 9.78; p = 0.002) and NETs (OR: 8.13; p = 0.04). Biloma/liver infarcts were managed conservatively but were associated with an increase in serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatases, and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (p = 0.005, p = 0.005, p = 0.012, and p = 0.006, respectively). Conclusions: Liver/biliary injuries are independently associated with DEB-TACE. Biloma/liver infarct, the most serious injury, is independently associated with both DEB-TACE and NETs. The absence of such an association in TACE of HCC may be explained by the hypertrophied peribiliary plexus observed in cirrhosis, which protects against the ischemic/chemical insult of bile ducts. We suggest caution when using DEB-TACE in the non-cirrhotic liver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-617
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Biloma
  • Iodised oil
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver infarct
  • Neuroendocrine tumour


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