The safety of radiofrequency thermal ablation in the treatment of liver malignancies

Casaril, A., Abu Hilal, M., Harb, A., Campagnaro, T., Mansueto, G. and Nicoli, N. (2008) The safety of radiofrequency thermal ablation in the treatment of liver malignancies European Journal of Surgical Oncology, 34, (6), pp. 668-672. (doi:10.1016/j.ejso.2007.05.003). (PMID:17681717).


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Introduction: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has become widely accepted as an important adjunct, and sometimes a viable alternative, to liver surgery. The aims of this study are to assess the risks associated with percutaneous RFA and to discuss the indications and contraindications to its use.

Patients and methods: This is a review of 130 consecutive patients who were treated for primary (n = 92) and metastatic (n = 38) liver tumours. Only complications after percutaneous RFA (83 patients) were evaluated. Interesting case studies are included to highlight potential complications following RFA and their management.

Results: One patient died of perforation of the colon and five others had major complications. There were 15 minor complications. Local recurrence rates reached 30% overall, and a further 25 patients developed a new hepatic lesion, different from the one treated by RFA. Median disease-free survival was 13 months. Overall survival rates at 1, 2 and 5 years were 85.3%, 71.3% and 57.6%, respectively.

Conclusion: Percutaneous RFA is a safe and efficient technique but not free of complications and with potential fatal outcome. It is also associated with significant local recurrence rates. The procedure should only be performed following adequate training and the indication should always be discussed in multidisciplinary meetings. Patient's liver function and general health as well as tumour size and position must be considered. Intraoperative or video laparoscopic RFA is useful for superficial tumours in order to avoid damage to viscera surrounding the liver surface.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.ejso.2007.05.003
ISSNs: 0748-7983 (print)
Keywords: percutaneous radiofrequency thermal ablation, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver metastases, complications of rfa
Subjects: R Medicine > RB Pathology
R Medicine > RD Surgery
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
ePrint ID: 172541
Date :
Date Event
June 2008Published
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2011 09:40
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 03:24
Further Information:Google Scholar

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