TACE-RFA or TACE Alone for HCC Substages B1 and B2?

Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) classified as substages B1 and B2 may benefit more from transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) than from TACE alone.

Researchers conducted a retrospective, multicenter study to more clearly indicate when TACE vs TACE-RFA is best for patients. The study took place between January 2000 and December 2015 and included 230 patients with intermediate-stage HCC, which was defined as Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage B. The patients were further categorized into 4 classes—B1 through B4. The prognosis of patients between these substages was compared based on whether they underwent TACE-RFA or TACE.

Results showed improved survival curves for TACE-RFA and hepatic resection compared with those of TACE. This effect was particularly evident in substages B1 and B2, in which the overall survival rates of patients who underwent TACE-RFA were significantly higher than the survival rates of those who underwent TACE.

TACE is currently the standard suggested therapy for HCC patients with BCLC-B, but the researchers suggest that, “the indications for TACE-RFA may be expanding to BCLC-B HCC.”

—Lauren LeBano


Hirooka M, Hiraoka A, Ochi H. Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization with or without radiofrequency ablation: outcomes in patients with Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer Stage B hepatocellular carcinoma. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2018 Feb 7:1-8. doi: 10.2214/AJR.17.18177. [Epub ahead of print].