CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology

, Volume 42, Issue 12, pp 1709–1717 | Cite as

Chemoembolization with Degradable Starch Microspheres for Treatment of Patients with Primary or Recurrent Unresectable, Locally Advanced Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma: A Pilot Study

  • Fabian Goerg
  • Markus ZimmermannEmail author
  • Philipp Bruners
  • Ulf Neumann
  • Tom Luedde
  • Christiane Kuhl
Clinical Investigation Interventional Oncology
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Interventional Oncology



To evaluate efficacy and complication rates of TACE with degradable starch microspheres (DSM-TACE) in patients with unresectable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) with or without prior major liver resection (MLR).


This is a retrospective single-center study on 21 patients (age 63 ± 15 years) with either unresectable ICC progressive under systemic chemotherapy or unresectable intrahepatic tumor recurrence after prior MLR. Patients were treated by multi-agent (cisplatin/doxorubicin/mitomycin C) DSM-TACE between August 2012 and July 2016, repeated 3 times at 4-week intervals. Imaging response was evaluated using RECIST 1.1. Overall survival (OS) and complication rates, stratified by history of MLR, were investigated.


Patients underwent a total 64 DSM-TACE sessions. Two patients (without MLR) were lost to follow-up after one uneventful DSM-TACE session. One patient underwent living-donor-liver transplantation after one DSM-TACE-session yielding partial remission. Of the remaining 18 patients, imaging response according to RECIST 1.1 was: complete remission in 2/18 (11.1%); PR in 9/18 (50%), and stable disease in 7/18 (38.9%), yielding an objective response rate of 61.1% and a disease control rate of 100%. Median OS of patients with objective response was significantly longer (18.0 months) than that of survival of patients with stable disease (4.8 months) (p = 0.001). Median OS of patients with MLR (12.5 months) was similar to that of patients without MLR (13.2 months). Of 21 patients, 2 (9.5%) developed post-interventional hepatobiliary abscesses, and one of these patients died due to subsequent sepsis.


DSM-TACE is an effective treatment for unresectable and otherwise therapy-refractory intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, even in those patients with intrahepatic disease recurrence after prior MLR.

Level of Evidence

Level II, therapeutic study.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital AachenRWTH AachenAachenGermany
  2. 2.Department of General, Visceral, and Transplant Surgery, University Hospital AachenRWTH AachenAachenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospital AachenRWTH AachenAachenGermany

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