A randomized controlled trial of radiofrequency ablation and surgical resection in the treatment of small hepatocellular carcinoma

Institute of Combined Injury, State Key Laboratory of Trauma, Burns and Combined Injury, Chongqing Engineering Research Center for Nanomedicine, College of Preventive Medicine, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, 400038, China
Journal of Hepatology (Impact Factor: 10.4). 05/2012; 57(4):794-802. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2012.05.007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) with surgical resection (RES) in the treatment of small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
A total of 168 patients with small HCC with nodular diameters of less than 4cm and up to two nodules were randomly divided into RES (n=84) and RFA groups (n=84). Outcomes were carefully monitored and evaluated during the 3-year follow-up period.
The 1-, 2-, and 3-year survival rates for the RES and RFA groups were 96.0%, 87.6%, 74.8% and 93.1%, 83.1%, 67.2%, respectively. The corresponding recurrence-free survival rates for the two groups were 90.6%, 76.7%, 61.1% and 86.2%, 66.6%, 49.6%, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups in overall survival rate (p=0.342) or recurrence-free survival rate (p=0.122). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the independent risk factors associated with survival were multiple occurrences of tumors at different hepatic locations (relative risk of 2.696; 95% CI: 1.189-6.117; p=0.018) and preoperative indocyanine green retention rate at 15min (ICG-15) (relative risk of 3.853; 95% CI: 1.647-9.015; p=0.002).
In patients with small hepatocellular carcinomas, percutaneous RFA may provide therapeutic effects similar to those of RES. However, percutaneous RFA is more likely to be incomplete for the treatment of small HCCs located at specific sites of the liver, and open or laparoscopic surgery may be the better choice.

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