Author(s): Strosberg JR, Choi J, Cantor AB, Kvols LK
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Prognosis in patients with carcinoid and pancreatic endocrine tumors with diffuse, unresectable liver metastases is poor. Palliation is often difficult despite the use of somatostatin analogs, interferon alpha, or systemic chemotherapy. Several reviews have suggested that hepatic artery embolization, with or without intraarterial chemotherapy, can be used for control of symptoms and for cytoreduction in patients with liver dominant metastases. METHODS: Between 2000 and 2002, 161 embolizations using polyvinyl alcohol or microspheres were performed on 84 patients with carcinoid or pancreatic endocrine tumors metastatic to the liver. A retrospective review was performed to evaluate symptomatic response, biochemical response, adverse effects, and duration of survival. Baseline and follow-up computed tomography scans were also assessed to determine radiographic response rates. Further analysis of survival was performed to assess the possible impact of various postembolization therapies. RESULTS: Eighty-four patients underwent bland hepatic artery embolizations during the study period. Among 55 symptomatic patients, 44 patients had fewer symptoms, and among 35 patients whose tumor markers were followed, 28 had a major biochemical response. Objective radiographic responses were observed in 11 of 23 patients. No deaths occurred during therapy, and major toxicities were rare. Median overall survival was 36 months from time of initial embolization. CONCLUSIONS: Hepatic artery embolization frequently results in clinical and radiographic responses in patients with unresectable liver metastases from carcinoid or pancreatic endocrine tumors. Morbidity is low when appropriate supportive care is provided. Hepatic artery embolization often results in regressions in patients with unresectable liver metastases from carcinoid or pancreatic endocrine tumors.
This article was published in Cancer Control
and referenced in Clinical & Medical Biochemistry