Conventional transarterial chemoembolization (c-TACE) and drug-eluting beads TACE (DEB-TACE) yield different objective tumor responses, but no clear difference in survival outcomes for patients with unresectable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), according to a systematic review article published in the Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology.

The pooled objective response rate (ORR) for c-TACE (29.4%) was lower than the ORR for DEB-TACE (51.2%). The disease control rate (DCR) was also lower for c-TACE (72.8%) compared to DEB-TACE (88.7%).

However, the 1-, 2-, and 3-year pooled overall survival (OS) rates were similar between the 2 groups. The c-TACE group had a 1-year OS rate of 49.7%, a 2-year OS rate of 24.0%, and a 3-year OS rate of 23.5%. In comparison, the DEB-TACE group had 58.6%, 26.7%, and 16.2% for their 1-, 2-, and 3-year OS rates, respectively.

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“This systematic review extensively reviewed the survival outcomes and tumor response of c-TACE and DEB-TACE for unresectable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, providing a reference for the choice of treatment modality for [patients with intrahepatic CCA] in clinical practice,” the study’s authors said.

“From the current evidence, although the tumor response after DEB-TACE treatment of [patients with intrahepatic CCA] may be superior to that of c-TACE, survival outcomes did not show a clear advantage,” the authors concluded.

A total of 19 studies were included in the retrospective meta-analysis, with 10 studies assessed outcomes for c-TACE and 13 studies examining DEB-TACE. Both c-TACE and DEB-TACE were investigated in 4 of the studies, yielding a total of 23 study cohorts and 1091 patients—673 receiving c-TACE and 418 receiving DEB-TACE.


He M, Jiang N, Yin X, et al. Conventional and drug-eluting beads transarterial chemoembolization in patients with unresectable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma: a systematic review and pooled analysis. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. Published online November 19, 2022. doi:10.1007/s00432-022-04485-1