[Radiofrequency ablation of recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma after hepatectomy]

Wei Yang, Min-hua Chen, Kun Yan, Wen Gao, Shan-shan Yin, Yan-bin Wang, Xiao-peng Zhang, Bao-cai Xing, Xin-fu Huang
Zhonghua Wai Ke za Zhi [Chinese Journal of Surgery] 2005 August 1, 43 (15): 980-4

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficiency and safety of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma (RHCC) after hepatectomy and to investigate efficacy of RFA for patients with early and late phase recurrence, separately, setting 1 year as the cut-off between the early and late phases.

METHODS: A total of 42 patients with 77 RHCC and a history of hepatic resection for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) underwent ultrasound-guided percutaneous radiofrequency ablation in our department and entered this study (RHCC group). The average diameter of RHCC was (3.8 +/- 1.4) cm (range, 1.5-6.6 cm). 21 of the 42 RHCC patients had Child-Pugh class A cirrhosis 19, class B and two, class C cirrhosis. The average interval between initial surgery and the diagnosis of recurrence was 22.8 months (range, 1-96 month). 42 RHCC patients were divided into two groups as early recurrence group including 20 patients with 40 RHCC, and late recurrence group including the other 22 patients with 37 RHCC according to the recurrence interval. During the same period 148 patients with 217 primary HCC were also treated by RF ablation and regarded as primary HCC group. The average diameter of primary HCC was (4.0 +/- 1.4) cm (range, 1.2-7.0 cm). Regular follow-up with enhanced CT was performed to evaluate the treatment results. Ablation was considered a success if no contrast enhancement was detected in the treated area on 1 month CT scans.

RESULTS: The ablation success rate, local recurrence rate, new tumor incidence and mean survival in RHCC group were 90.5%, 14.3%, 38.1% and (28.0 +/- 3.5) months, respectively, which were similar to the corresponding results of 87.2%, 16.2%, 37.8% and (39.0 +/- 2.1) month in primary HCC group. However, when further comparison was performed between early recurrence group, late recurrence group and primary HCC group, there were some significant differences. The incidence of new tumors in early recurrence group was significantly higher than that in late recurrent group (60.0% vs. 18.2%, P = 0.005); early recurrence group survived shorter than primary HCC group [(15.4 +/- 2.3) vs. (39.0 +/- 2.1) months, P < 0.005]. The survival time was similar between late recurrence group and primary HCC group. One case was found haemorrhage after RFA and recovered with conservative treatment. No major complications occurred in the remaining 41 patients.

CONCLUSIONS: RF ablation is generally effective and safe in treating RHCC. And it's more effective in late recurrence than in early recurrence.

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