Research Article

Non-operative arterial embolisation in primary liver tumours.

Br Med J 1979; 2 doi: (Published 28 July 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;2:242
  1. P G Wheeler,
  2. W Melia,
  3. P Dubbins,
  4. B Jones,
  5. H Nunnerley,
  6. P Johnson,
  7. R Williams


    Three patients with primary hepatic tumours were treated by selective arterial embolisation with gelatin-foam fragments to induce necrosis. In the two with histologically proved hepatocellular carcinoma ultrasonography suggested that necrosis had been induced, as did the rapid initial falls in serum alpha-fetoprotein concentration by 95 and 81% of the original values respectively. Treatment was continued with a course of adriamycin, and both patients remained well and symptom free at 10 and 12 months. In the third patient, who had an expanding and highly vascular benign hepatic adenoma associated with use of a contraceptive pill, embolisation obliterated the tumour mass. Tumour embolisation should be regarded as only the first step in managing hepatocellular carcinoma and as a means of reducing appreciably the viable tumour mass before chemotherapy. It may be used as the primary and definitive treatment in patients with benign liver tumours.