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Intra-Arterial Therapies for Liver Metastatic Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis



Performing a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the evidence of intra-arterial therapies in liver metastatic breast cancer (LMBC) patients.


A systemic literature search was performed in PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS for studies regarding intra-arterial therapies in LMBC patients. Full text studies of LMBC patients (n ≥ 10) published between January 2010 and December 2020 were included when at least one outcome among response rate, adverse events or survival was available. Response rates were pooled using generalized linear mixed models. A weighted estimate of the population median overall survival (OS) was obtained under the assumption of exponentially distributed survival times.


A total of 26 studies (1266 patients) were included. Eleven articles reported on transarterial radioembolization (TARE), ten on transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and four on chemo-infusion. One retrospective study compared TARE and TACE. Pooled response rates were 49% for TARE (95%CI 32–67%), 34% for TACE (95%CI 22–50%) and 19% for chemo-infusion (95%CI 14–25%). Pooled median survival was 9.2 months (range 6.1–35.4 months) for TARE, 17.8 months (range 4.6–47.0) for TACE and 7.9 months (range 7.0–14.2) for chemo-infusion. No comparison for OS was possible due to missing survival rates at specific time points (1 and 2 year OS) and the large heterogeneity.


Although results have to be interpreted with caution due to the large heterogeneity, the superior response rate of TARE and TACE compared to chemo-infusion suggests first choice of TARE or TACE in chemorefractory LMBC patients. Chemo-infusion could be considered in LMBC patients not suitable for TARE or TACE.

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Metastatic breast cancer


Overall survival


Liver metastatic breast cancer


Progression-free survival


Transarterial radioembolization


Transarterial embolization


Transarterial chemoembolization


Drug-eluting beads loaded with doxorubicin


18F-FDG positron emission tomography


Confidence interval


Response evaluation criteria in solid tumors


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Appendix 1: Full Search Pubmed

Appendix 1: Full Search Pubmed

((“Breast Neoplasms”[Mesh] OR ((breast*[tiab] OR mammary[tiab] OR mamma[tiab]) AND (neoplasm*[tiab] OR tumor[tiab] OR tumors[tiab] OR tumour*[tiab] OR cancer*[tiab] OR malign*[tiab] OR oncolog*[tiab] OR carcinom*[tiab])) OR (mammacarcinom*[tiab] OR mamma-carcinom*[tiab])) AND (“Liver Neoplasms”[Mesh] OR liver[tiab] OR hepatic[tiab] OR hepatocellular[tiab]) AND (“Neoplasm Metastasis”[MeSH] OR metasta*[tiab] OR metasti*[tiab]) OR LMBC[tiab]) AND (“Infusions, Intra-Arterial”[MeSH] OR intra arterial infusion*[tiab] OR intraarterial infusion*[tiab] OR intraarterial therap*[tiab] OR regional arterial infusion*[tiab] OR intra arterial therap*[tiab] OR hepatic arterial infusion*[tiab] OR hepatic arterial catheter*[tiab] OR (intra-hepatic[tiab] AND infusion*[tiab]) OR HAI[tiab] OR HAIC[tiab] OR chemo emboliz*[tiab] OR chemoemboliz*[tiab] OR chemoembolis*[tiab] OR chemo-embolis*[tiab] OR TACE[tiab] OR TAE[tiab] OR radioemboliz*[tiab] OR TARE[tiab] OR radioembolis*[tiab] OR radio-emboliz*[tiab] OR radio-embolis*[tiab] OR selective internal radiation therap*[tiab] OR selective internal radiotherap*[tiab] OR selective internal RT[tiab] OR selective internal radionuclide therap*[tiab] OR selective intraarterial radionuclide therap*[tiab] OR SIRT[tiab] OR intra-arterial chemotherap*[tiab] OR intraarterial chemotherap*[tiab] OR radiofrequency ablat*[tiab] OR regional infusion*[tiab] OR hepatic infusion*[tiab] OR arterial infusion*[tiab] OR arterial cytostatic infusion*[tiab] OR locoregional chemotherap*[tiab] OR intra-arterial catheter*[tiab] OR intraarterial catheter*[tiab] OR intrahepatic arterial chemo*[tiab] OR regional chemotherap*[tiab] OR transarterial immunochemotherap*[tiab] OR transarterial immuno-chemotherap*[tiab] OR local immunochemotherap*[tiab] OR local immuno-chemotherap*[tiab] OR intra-arterial chemo-infusion*[tiab] OR chemofiltration*[tiab] OR locoregional chemotherap*[tiab] OR arterial infusion chemotherap*[tiab] OR loco-regional cancer therap*[tiab] OR locoregional cancer therap*[tiab] OR hepatic artery infusion*[tiab] OR transarterial emboliz*[tiab] OR transarterial embolis*[tiab] OR bland emboliz*[tiab] OR bland embolis*[tiab]).

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Aarts, B.M., Muñoz, F.M.G., Wildiers, H. et al. Intra-Arterial Therapies for Liver Metastatic Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol 44, 1868–1882 (2021).

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  • Breast neoplasm
  • Liver neoplasms
  • Intra-arterial infusion
  • Systematic review
  • Meta-analysis