Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation for recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma after hepatectomy: long-term results and prognostic factors

Dongil Choi, Hyo K Lim, Hyunchul Rhim, Young-sun Kim, Byung Chul Yoo, Seung Woon Paik, Jae-Won Joh, Cheol Keun Park
Annals of Surgical Oncology 2007, 14 (8): 2319-29

BACKGROUND: We evaluated the long-term survival results and safety of percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after hepatectomy, and assessed the prognostic factors that can influence its long-term therapeutic results.

METHODS: One hundred and two patients, who had 119 recurrent HCC in their livers, underwent ultrasound-guided percutaneous RFA. All the patients had a history of hepatic resection as a first-line treatment modality for HCC. The mean diameter of the recurrent tumors was 2.0 cm (range, 0.8-5.0 cm). We evaluated the effectiveness rates, local tumor progression rates, survival rates, and complications. We also assessed the prognostic factors of the survival rates by using Cox proportional hazard models.

RESULTS: The primary effectiveness rate was 93.3% (111 of 119). The cumulative rates of local tumor progression at 1, 3, and 5 years were 6.0, 8.6, and 11.9%, respectively. The cumulative survival rates at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years were 93.9, 83.7, 65.7, 56.6, and 51.6%, respectively. Patients with a lower serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) level (<or=100 microg/L) before RFA or with small resected tumors (<or=5 cm) demonstrated better survival results (P < .05). There was only one major complication (liver abscess, 1.0% per treatment) during the follow-up period. There were no procedure-related deaths.

CONCLUSIONS: Percutaneous RFA is an effective and safe treatment modality for intrahepatic recurrent HCC after hepatectomy. Serum AFP level before RFA and resected tumor size were significant prognostic predictors of long-term survival.

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