Multicenter randomized controlled trial of percutaneous cryoablation versus radiofrequency ablation in hepatocellular carcinoma

Chunping Wang, Huaming Wang, Wuwei Yang, Kaiwen Hu, Hui Xie, Ke-Qin Hu, Wenlin Bai, Zheng Dong, Yinying Lu, Zhen Zeng, Min Lou, Hong Wang, Xudong Gao, Xiujuan Chang, Linjing An, Jianhui Qu, Jin Li, Yongping Yang
Hepatology: Official Journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases 2015, 61 (5): 1579-90

UNLABELLED: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is considered a curative treatment option for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Growing data have demonstrated that cryoablation represents a safe and effective alternative therapy for HCC, but no randomized controlled trial (RCT) has been reported to compare cryoablation with RFA in HCC treatment. The present study was a multicenter RCT aimed to compare the outcomes of percutaneous cryoablation with RFA for the treatment of HCC. In all, 360 patients with Child-Pugh class A or B cirrhosis and one or two HCC lesions ≤ 4 cm, treatment-naïve, without metastasis were randomly assigned to cryoablation (n = 180) or RFA (n = 180). The primary endpoints were local tumor progression at 3 years after treatment and safety. Local tumor progression rates at 1, 2, and 3 years were 3%, 7%, and 7% for cryoablation and 9%, 11%, and 11% for RFA, respectively (P = 0.043). For lesions >3 cm in diameter, the local tumor progression rate was significantly lower in the cryoablation group versus the RFA group (7.7% versus 18.2%, P = 0.041). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rates were 97%, 67%, and 40% for cryoablation and 97%, 66%, and 38% for RFA, respectively (P = 0.747). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year tumor-free survival rates were 89%, 54%, and 35% in the cryoablation group and 84%, 50%, and 34% in the RFA group, respectively (P = 0.628). Multivariate analyses demonstrated that Child-Pugh class B and distant intrahepatic recurrence were significant negative predictors for overall survival. Major complications occurred in seven patients (3.9%) following cryoablation and in six patients (3.3%) following RFA (P = 0.776).

CONCLUSION: Cryoablation resulted in a significantly lower local tumor progression than RFA, although both cryoablation and RFA were equally safe and effective, with similar 5-year survival rates.

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