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Polyethylene glycol microspheres loaded with irinotecan for arterially directed embolic therapy of metastatic liver cancer

Fiorentini, G., Carandina, R., Sarti, D., Nardella, M., Zoras, O., Guadagni, S., . . . Aliberti, C. (2017, September 15)

12/03/2018 -  



To study tumor response, and tolerability of arterially directed embolic therapy (ADET) with polyethylene glycol embolics loaded with irinotecan for the treatment of colorectal cancer liver metastases (CRC-LM). Secondary objectives were to monitor quality of life, time to progression and survival of patients.


Patients were included in the study if they were affected by CRC-LM, refractory to systemic chemotherapy, treated with ADET using polyethylene glycol embolics, and had liver involvement < 50%. Tumor response, performance status (PS), tumor marker antigens, and quality of life (QoL) were monitored at 1, 3 and 6 mo after ADET. QoL was assessed with the Palliative Performance Scale (PPS).


We treated 50 consecutive CRC-LM patients with ADET using polyethylene glycol embolics. Their tumor response one month after ADET was: 28% of complete response (CR), 48% of partial response (PR), 8% stable disease (SD), and 16% of progression. Tumor response 3 mo after ADET was CR 24%, PR 38%, SD 19% and progression disease (PD) 19%. Tumor response 6 mo after ADET was CR 18%, PR 44%, SD 21% and PD 18%. QoL was 90% PPS at each time point. Median time to progression for patients who progressed was 2.5 mo (range 0.8-6). Median follow-up was 14 mo (0.8-25 range). ADETs were performed with no complications. Observed side effects (mild or moderate intensity) were: Pain in 32% of patients, increase of transaminase levels in 20% and fever in 14%, whereas 30% of patients did not complain any adverse event.


The treatment of unresectable CRC-LM with ADET using polyethylene glycol microspheres loaded with irinotecan was effective in tumor response and resulted in mild toxicity, and good QoL.

Keywords: Liver metastases, Arterially directed embolic therapy, Colorectal cancer, Polyethylene glycol embolics, Irinotecan