Isolated hepatic perfusion with tumor necrosis factor and melphalan for unresectable cancers confined to the liver

H. Richard Alexander, David L. Bartlett, Steven K. Libutti, Douglas L. Fraker, Tammy Moser, Steven A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate efficacy and systemic and regional toxicities of hyperthermic isolated hepatic perfusion (IHP) using tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and melphalan for the treatment of unable primary or metastatic cancers confined to the liver. Patients and Methods: Thirty-four patients (18 men and 16 women; mean age, 49 years) underwent a 60-minute hyperthermic (39.5°to 40.0°C) IHP performed by laparotomy that used TNF 1.0 mg and melphalan 1.5 mg/kg. Perfusion inflow was through the gastroduodenal artery and outflow was from a cannula positioned in an isolated segment of retrohepatic inferior vena cava (IVC). Infrahepatic IVC and portal venous blood flow were shunted to the axillary vein using an external venoveno bypass circuit. Complete vascular isolation of the liver was confirmed by an 1-131-labelled human serum albumin monitoring technique. Results: There was no operative mortality. Seventy-five percent of patients had reversible grade III or IV (National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria) hepatic toxicity with one treatment-related mortality (3%) because of hepatic venoocclusive disease. In 33 assessable patients, the overall response rote was 75% (complete response, one patient [3%]; partial response, 26 patients [72%]). With a median potential follow-up of 15 months, the mean duration of response was 9 months (range, 2 to 30 months). Conclusion: IHP with TNF and melphalan results in significant regression of bulky hepatic cancers confined to the liver in the majority of patients. Based on these initial results, further refinement of this treatment technique is warranted; perhaps by the combination of IHP with other regional treatment strategies to provide long- term control of unresectable cancers confined to liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1479-1489
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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