Radiofrequency ablation vs. surgical resection for resectable hepatocellular carcinoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Jia-Kai Li, Xiao-Hui Liu, Hong Cui, Xin-Hui Xie
Molecular and Clinical Oncology 2020, 12 (1): 15-22
The treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a significant challenge. Although radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has emerged as a popular therapeutic option for patients with resectable HCC, whether it can achieve comparable survival outcomes compared with surgical resection (RES) remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to conduct a meta-analysis to assess the survival outcomes of RFA vs. RES in patients with early resectable HCC tumors. A Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Library search was performed for data published between January 2000 and February 2018. A meta-analysis of the efficacy of RFA compared with RES for HCC was subsequently performed, with particular emphasis on overall survival and disease-free survival (DFS) rates. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using the random-effects model. In the present study, a total of 13,147 patients with HCC were included; of which, 6,727 were treated with RFA and 6,420 were treated with RES. The overall survival rates (OR1-year , 0.757, 95% CI, 0.578-0.989; OR3-year , 0.530, 95% CI, 0.401-0.700; OR5-year , 0.566, 95% CI, 0.423-0.758) and the DRS rates (OR1-year , 0.569, 95% CI, 0.456-0.711; OR3-year , 0.418, 95% CI, 0.267-0.653; OR5-year , 0.374, 95% CI, 0.231-0.606) of RES were significantly higher than those of RFA. The results indicate that RES is superior to RFA for promoting the survival of selected patients with resectable HCC. However, future randomized controlled trials are required to investigate the specific relevance of these modalities in the treatment of HCC.

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