Comparison of health-related quality of life after transarterial chemoembolization and transarterial radioembolization in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma

  • T. Kirchner
  • S. Marquardt
  • T. Werncke
  • M. M. Kirstein
  • T. Brunkhorst
  • F. Wacker
  • A. Vogel
  • Thomas RodtEmail author



The purpose of this study was to compare quality of life (QoL) after two different transarterial therapies [transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and transarterial radioembolization (TARE)] for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to assess tumor therapy in palliative situation additional to traditional aims like survival or image response.

Material and methods

QoL was evaluated with two validated questionnaires (EORTC QLQ-30 and EORTC HCC18) before and 14d after treatment in 94 initial therapies (TACE n = 67; TARE n = 27). QoL changes after treatment were analyzed. Tumor response was evaluated using RECIST/WHO/mRECIST/EASL criteria. A multivariate linear regression was undertaken to identify potential influence factors on change of QoL.


Mean return rate of questionnaires was 71.3% allowing analysis of 67 therapies (TACE n = 46; TARE n = 21). Initial global health status/QoL was significantly higher in TACE (62.5%) compared to TARE with 50.8%. Absolute global health decrease was higher in TACE (− 10.5%) compared to TARE (− 4.8%, p = 0.396). Also relative global health decrease was higher in TACE (− 16.82%) compared to TARE (− 9.37%). Findings for other items were corresponding, as less impairment was found for TARE compared to TACE for physical/social functioning, fatigue and pain. Objective mRECIST response rate was 22.8% in TACE and 21.1% in TARE.


Neither TACE nor TARE showed a major decrease in QoL after first treatment. TACE showed a slightly but not significantly higher decrease, so this study is not clearly in favor for one treatment. But with the addition that TARE showed less decrease even in patients with higher tumor burden and lower baseline.


Hepatocellular carcinoma Transarterial therapies Transarterial chemoembolization Transarterial radioembolization Palliative therapy Quality of life 


Compliance with ethical standards


This study was not supported by any funding.

Conflict of interest

The authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. Consent for publication was obtained for every individual person’s data included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Kirchner
    • 1
  • S. Marquardt
    • 1
  • T. Werncke
    • 1
  • M. M. Kirstein
    • 2
  • T. Brunkhorst
    • 3
  • F. Wacker
    • 1
  • A. Vogel
    • 2
  • Thomas Rodt
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional RadiologyHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and EndocrinologyHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany
  3. 3.Clinic for Nuclear MedicineHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany

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