ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the leading causes of death for cirrhosis, and patients are often not eligible for surgery. To evaluate the effectiveness of radiofrequency ablation in single (less than 3.5cm in diameter) or multiple nodules (up to 3, sized less than 3cm) in respect of acceptability, applicability, primary ablation rate, local recurrence, complications, and long-term patients outcome.
184 hepatic nodules detected in 156 consecutive patients recruited from a local sonographic screening were treated. In 10.2% of patients under study, a laparoscopic or laparotomy guided technique was preferred to the percutaneous approach. Overall and tumor-free survivals were estimated by Kaplan-Meier method. For the multivariate analysis, the hazard ratios and their 95 percent confidence intervals were computed by Cox model regression analysis.
No treatment-related deaths and a severe complication rate of 3.2% were recorded. Primary complete ablation was obtained in 83.7% of nodules (87.1% of patients), and in a significantly higher rate for nodules up to 2cm (91.3%; p<0.013). Acceptability was 100%, and eligibility was very high (156 out of 160 cases). Local recurrence rate at 1 and 3 years was 10% and 25% respectively. The overall 3- and 5-year survival rates after treatment were 69.3% and 34.6%. Higher survival rates were obtained in the Child A cirrhosis subgroup (p<0.03) after complete response (p<0.001) and in the absence of new lesions (p<0.023).
Radiofrequency ablation has great acceptability and applicability, and is a safe and effective treatment to be used after sonographic screening for small hepatocellular carcinomas.
Hepato-gastroenterology 55(81):191-6. · 0.66 Impact Factor