Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization plus radiofrequency ablation therapy for early stage hepatocellular carcinoma: comparison with surgical resection

Tatehiro Kagawa, Jun Koizumi, Sei-ichiro Kojima, Naruhiko Nagata, Makoto Numata, Norihito Watanabe, Tetsu Watanabe, Tetsuya Mine et al.
Cancer 2010 August 1, 116 (15): 3638-44

BACKGROUND: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is becoming a well-known local therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) is expected to enhance the effects of subsequent RFA by reducing arterial blood flow. However, the long-term efficacy of this combined therapy has not been elucidated. In this study, the survival rates of patients who received TACE combined with RFA (TACE + RFA) were compared with those of patients treated surgically.

METHODS: The study included consecutive patients who received TACE+RFA or surgical resection as the initial curative treatment for HCC between 2000 and 2005 at Tokai University Hospital. Inclusion criteria were a single HCC<or=50 mm or up to 3 HCCs<or=30 mm, presence of cirrhosis classified as Child-Pugh class A, no vascular invasion, and no extrahepatic metastasis.

RESULTS: Sixty-two patients (23 women, 39 men; aged 67.5+/-8.4 years [mean+/-standard deviation]) received TACE+RFA, and 55 patients (15 women, 40 men; aged 66.1+/-8.4 years) underwent surgical resection. Median follow-up periods were similar (50 months in the TACE+RFA group vs 49 months in the resection group). The probabilities of overall survival at 1, 3, and 5 years in the TACE+RFA group (100%, 94.8%, and 64.6%, respectively) were similar (P=.788) to those in the resection group (92.5%, 82.7%, and 76.9%, respectively). Two major RFA-related complications were observed (1.5%).

CONCLUSIONS: RFA combined with TACE is an efficient and safe treatment that provides overall survival rates similar to those achieved with surgical resection.

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