Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignant diseases worldwide. While curative therapies, including resection, liver transplantation, and percutaneous ablation (percutaneous ethanol injection and radiofrequency ablation), are applicable for only a portion of the HCC population, transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) has been recognized as an effective palliative treatment option for patients with advanced HCC. TACE is also used even for single HCCs in which it is difficult to perform surgical resection or locoregional treatment due to systemic co-morbidities or anatomical problems. TACE has become widely adopted in the treatment of HCC. By using computed tomography-angiography, TACE is capable of performing diagnosis and treatment at the same time. Furthermore, TACE plays an important role in the multidisciplinary treatment for HCC when combined with other treatment. In this review, we first discuss the history of TACE, and then review the previous findings about techniques of achieving a locoregional treatment effect (liver infarction treatment, e.g. , ultra-selective TACE, balloon-occluded TACE), and the use of TACE as a drug delivery system for anti-cancer agents (palliative, e.g. , platinum complex agents, drug-eluting beads) for multiple lesions.
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