Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignant tumors worldwide. Portal venous invasion is reported in 12.5–39.7% of patients with advanced HCC (1). When the main portal vein (MPV) was involved by tumor thrombus, the patient’s prognosis was extremely poor (2). For these patients, there is no effective treatment and the optimal treatment remains controversial. Most HCCs with portal vein tumor thrombus (PVTT) are technically unresectable and they are not suitable for curative therapies. As a palliative treatment, transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) treatment for HCC with PVTT is safe and effective when there is sufficient collateral circulation. However, PVTT limits the effect of TACE on HCC and has a strong negative impact on the therapeutic effect (3). Therefore, opening the occlusion of the portal vein caused by PVTT and reperfusing the portal vein could improve the success of TACE, and this could be achieved using portal vein stenting (PVS). PVS combined with TACE has been successfully used in the treatment of HCC with PVTT. However, PVS effectively removes the portal vein obstruction but do not treat the thrombus per se, and stent restenosis may happen. Radioactive seed implantation is used in a variety of solid tumors. Iodine-125 (125I) seed implantation was attempted to treat HCC with PVTT and achieved excellent therapeutic efficacy (4) with a good safety profile (Figure 1).
- Perform percutaneous transhepatic portal 6F vagina vasorum implantation and CTAP by 5F pigtail catheter. It shows that the filling defect at main portal vein in the size of approximately 8 mm × 5 cm;
- Remove pigtail catheter, bring in the super smooth guide wire and small wire adopted in percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography drainage), remove vasorum and then place it by super smooth guide wire. By replacement of the vasorum, long super smooth guide wire is inside the vasorum while the short one outside;
- Preparation of seed strand: radioactivity of each 125I seed is 25.9 MBq with a half-life of 59.4 days. The number of 125I seeds planned to be implanted was calculated by the following formula: length of obstructed MPV (mm)/4.5+2 (Figure 2);
- Release ev3 stent with the size of 14 mm × 8 cm by smooth guide wire, guide it into the vagina vasorum of PTCD by small wires, remove small wires, and then push prepared 125I seed strand;
- Angiography shows that portal vein is smooth with stent in the right place and 125I seed strand is in a good condition;
- When the sheath is slowly withdrawing to liver parenchyma, use four coiling in the size of 3 mm × 3 cm to seal the puncture path;
- Perform percutaneous puncture from right femoral artery to sheath, and then guide 5F RH tube to super selective hepatic artery. Angiography shows the staining of giant tumor in right lobe of liver, which is significant in three feeding arteries. Prescribe such drugs for embolization as Pirarubicin 30 mg + Oxaliplatin 50 mg + Iodinated Oil 25 mL + PVA (500–700 µm).
- TACE cannot be directly performed on the patients with primary hepatocellular carcinoma (PHC) and PVTT. The combination of portal vein stent and endovascular implantation of 125I seed strand can open the portal vein and conduct radiation therapy on PVTT by radioactive seeds strand;
- After opening the portal vein, TACE can be performed and the focus in portal vein or liver can be treated;
- Due to the huge tumor, complete embolization at one time may cause damage on liver function and severe postoperative reactions, so fractionated embolization should be adopted.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
Informed Consent: Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this manuscript and any accompanying images.
- Shi J, Lai EC, Li N, et al. A new classification for hepatocellular carcinoma with portal vein tumor thrombus. J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Sci 2011;18:74-80. [Crossref] [PubMed]
- Zhou L, Rui JA, Wang SB, et al. Risk factors of poor prognosis and portal vein tumor thrombosis after curative resection of solitary hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int 2013;12:68-73. [Crossref] [PubMed]
- Sun JH, Zhou T, Zhu T, et al. Portal Vein Stenting Combined with Iodine-125 Seeds Endovascular Implantation Followed by Transcatheter Arterial Chemoembolization for Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients with Portal Vein Tumor Thrombus. Biomed Res Int 2016;2016. [Crossref] [PubMed]
- Yang M, Fang Z, Yan Z, et al. Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) combined with endovascular implantation of an iodine-125 seed strand for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma with portal vein tumour thrombosis versus TACE alone: a two-arm, randomised clinical trial. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 2014;140:211-9. [Crossref] [PubMed]
- Zhao S, Yang X, Gu W, et al. Endovascular placement of iodine-125 seed strand and stent combined with chemoembolization for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma with tumor thrombus in main portal vein. Asvide 2018;5:727. Available online: http://www.asvide.com/article/view/26844