PloS one

Hepatic parenchymal changes following transcatheter embolization and chemoembolization in a rabbit tumor model.

PMID 23967098


To compare the effects of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) with transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE) on liver function, hepatic damage, and hepatic fibrogenesis in a rabbit tumor model. Thirty-nine New Zealand white rabbits implanted with VX2 tumors in the left liver lobes were randomly divided into three groups: TAE, TACE, and control group. In the TAE group (n = 15), polyvinyl alcohol particles (PVAs) were used for left hepatic artery embolization. In the TACE group (n = 15), the tumors were treated with left hepatic arterial infusions of a suspension of 10-hydroxycamptothecin and lipiodol, followed by embolization with PVAs. In the control group (n = 9), the animals received sham treatment with distilled water. Serum and liver samples were collected at 6 hours, 3 days and 7 days after treatment. Liver damage was measured using a liver function test and histological analyses. Liver fibrogenesis and hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation were evaluated using Sirius Red and anti-alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) immunohistochemical stains. TACE caused liver injury with greater increases in serum alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels on day 3 (P<0.05). Histological analyses revealed increased hepatic necrosis in adjacent non-tumorous liver tissue from day 3 compared to the TAE group (Suzuki score of 2.33±1.29 versus 1.13±1.18, P = 0.001). HSC activation and proliferation were significantly increased in the TACE group compared to the control group at 3 and 7 days after treatment (0.074±0.014 vs. 0.010±0.006, and 0.088±0.023 vs. 0.017±0.009, P<0.05). Sirius Red staining demonstrated a statistically significant increase in collagen deposition in the livers in the TACE group 7 days after embolization compared to the control group (0.118±0.012 vs. 0.060±0.017, P = 0.05). The results of this animal study revealed that TACE induced prominent hepatocellular damage and hepatic fibrogenesis, which compromised liver function and may be responsible for chronic liver decompensation.