Percutaneous ablation for perivascular hepatocellular carcinoma: Refining the current status based on emerging evidence and future perspectives

Tae Wook Kang, Hyo Keun Lim, Dong Ik Cha
World Journal of Gastroenterology: WJG 2018 December 21, 24 (47): 5331-5337
Various therapeutic modalities including radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation, microwave ablation, and irreversible electroporation have attracted attention as energy sources for effective locoregional treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); these are accepted non-surgical treatments that provide excellent local tumor control and favorable survival. However, in contrast to surgery, tumor location is a crucial factor in the outcomes of locoregional treatment because such treatment is mainly performed using a percutaneous approach for minimal invasiveness; accordingly, it has a limited range of ablation volume. When the index tumor is near large blood vessels, the blood flow drags thermal energy away from the targeted tissue, resulting in reduced ablation volume through a so-called "heat-sink effect". This modifies the size and shape of the ablation zone considerably. In addition, serious complications including infarction or aggressive tumor recurrence can be observed during follow-up after ablation for perivascular tumors by mechanical or thermal damage. Therefore, perivascular locations of HCC adjacent to large intrahepatic vessels can affect post-treatment outcomes. In this review, we primarily focus on physical properties of perivascular tumor location, characteristics of perivascular HCC, potential complications, and clinical outcomes after various locoregional treatments; moreover, we discuss the current status and future perspectives regarding percutaneous ablation for perivascular HCC.

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