Radioembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma: Statistical confirmation of improved survival in responders by landmark analyses

Ahsun Riaz, Ahmed Gabr, Nadine Abouchaleh, Rehan Ali, Ali Al Asadi, Ronald Mora, Laura Kulik, Kush Desai, Bartley Thornburg, Samdeep Mouli, Ryan Hickey, Frank H. Miller, Vahid Yaghmai, Daniel Ganger, Robert J. Lewandowski, Riad Salem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Does imaging response predict survival in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)? We studied the ability of posttherapeutic imaging response to predict overall survival. Over 14 years, 948 patients with HCC were treated with radioembolization. Patients with baseline metastases, vascular invasion, multifocal disease, Child-Pugh > B7, and transplanted/resected were excluded. This created our homogeneous study cohort of 134 patients with Child-Pugh ≤ B7 and solitary HCC. Response (using European Association for Study of the Liver [EASL] and Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors 1.1 [RECIST 1.1] criteria) was associated with survival using Landmark and risk-of-death methodologies after reviewing 960 scans. In a subanalysis, survival times of responders were compared to those of patients with stable disease (SD) and progressive disease (PD). Uni/multivariate survival analyses were performed at each Landmark. At the 3-month Landmark, responders survived longer than nonresponders by EASL (hazard ratio [HR], 0.46; confidence interval [CI], 0.26-0.82; P = 0.002) but not RECIST 1.1 criteria (HR, 0.70; CI, 0.37-1.32; P = 0.32). At the 6-month Landmark, responders survived longer than nonresponders by EASL (HR, 0.32; CI, 0.15-0.77; P < 0.001) and RECIST 1.1 criteria (HR, 0.50; CI, 0.29-0.87; P = 0.021). At the 12-month Landmark, responders survived longer than nonresponders by EASL (HR, 0.34; CI, 0.15-0.77; P < 0.001) and RECIST 1.1 criteria (HR, 0.52; CI 0.27-0.98; P = 0.049). At 6 months, risk of death was lower for responders by EASL (P < 0.001) and RECIST 1.1 (P = 0.0445). In subanalyses, responders lived longer than patients with SD or PD. EASL response was a significant predictor of survival at 3-, 6-, and 12-month Landmarks on uni/multivariate analyses. Conclusion: Response to radioembolization in patients with solitary HCC can prognosticate improved survival. EASL necrosis criteria outperformed RECIST 1.1 size criteria in predicting survival. The therapeutic objective of radioembolization should be radiologic response and not solely to prevent progression. (Hepatology 2018;67:873–883).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)873-883
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology

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