What are complications of treating hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE)?

Updated: Jan 31, 2021
  • Author: Luca Cicalese, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Answer

The most common complication is postembolization syndrome, which is characterized by fever, elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and abdominal pain; it occurs in 32-80% of treated patients. [57] However, in patients with advanced cirrhosis and hepatic decompensation, TACE is contraindicated, because the ischemic damage associated with embolization can lead to a rapid decline in liver function with worsening encephalopathy, increased ascites, and, potentially, death.


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