Current guidelines for chemoembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma: Room for improvement?

Academic Article


  • Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is the most common oncologic therapy used according to the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) guidelines established in 2005, revised in 2011. The purpose of this study was to determine how AASLD criteria for the management of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have impacted TACE practice in the community. Clinical, demographic, and cause of death information were collected for patients diagnosed with HCC in the 2012 linkage of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Medicare database. Propensity score survival analysis was used to compare survival outcomes in patients whose HCC tumor characteristics were less than, met, or were beyond AASLD criteria. The proportion of patients with HCC receiving TACE who met the AASLD-recommended criteria increased after the 2005 guidelines were published. Up to 17% of patients treated with TACE had tumor characteristics less than the AASLD criteria and were not offered potentially curative therapies. Propensity score matching demonstrated the largest survival advantage in patients with HCC whose tumor characteristics met the AASLD criteria (hazard ratio, 0.42; 95% confidence interval, 0.38-0.47). A significant survival advantage was also observed in patients with HCC whose tumor characteristics exceeded the AASLD criteria. Conclusion: The AASLD criteria successfully identify a population of patients with HCC that maximally benefit from TACE therapy. However, patients with HCC with tumor characteristics beyond the AASLD criteria also appear to receive a significant survival advantage with TACE. Further studies are necessary to improve referral patterns and appropriate use of chemoembolization in the management of unresectable HCC. (Hepatology Communications 2017;1:338–346).
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • White JA; Gray SH; Li P; Simpson HN; McGuire BM; Eckhoff DE; Abdel Aal AMK; Saddekni S; Dubay DA
  • Start Page

  • 338
  • End Page

  • 346
  • Volume

  • 1
  • Issue

  • 4