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Islet Cell Tumors Metastatic to the Liver: Effective Palliation by Sequential Hepatic Artery Embolization

JAFFER A. AJANI, M.D.; C. HUMBERTO CARRASCO, M.D.; CHUSILP CHARNSANGAVEJ, M.D.; NAGUIB A. SAMAAN, M.D.; BERNARD LEVIN, M.D.; and SIDNEY WALLACE, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸ Requests for reprints should be addressed to Jaffer Ajani, M.D.; Department of Medical Oncology, The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Box 68; Houston, TX 77030.


Houston, Texas


© 1988 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1988;108(3):340-344. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-108-3-340
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The value of sequential percutaneous hepatic artery embolization with polyvinyl alcohol particles was examined in 22 patients with islet cell carcinoma metastatic to the liver. Nine patients had gastrinoma, 2 had glucagonoma, and 11 had no discernible hormonal secretions or syndromes. Ninety-seven embolizations were done with a median number of 4 (range, 1 to 12) per patient. The interval between embolizations ranged from 1 to 8 months. Twelve of twenty evaluable patients had a partial remission, frequently associated with subjective improvement and decrease in hormone levels. The projected median survival of all 22 patients from the initiation of embolization is 33.7 months (range, 1 to 72). Nausea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain occurred with each embolization and subsided usually by day 10 (range, 3 to 35). Sequential hepatic artery occlusion is an effective method for prolonged palliation in this selected group of patients.

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