CLINICAL TRIAL
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Radio-frequency thermal ablation of liver metastases with a cooled-tip electrode needle: results of a pilot clinical trial.

The aim of this study was to evaluate feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of radio-frequency (RF) thermal ablation, performed by using a cooled-tip electrode needle, in the treatment of liver metastases. Twenty-nine patients (20 males and 9 females; age range 43-77 years) with one to four hepatic metastases 1.1-4.8 cm in diameter (mean 2.9 +/- 0.8 cm) from previously resected intra-abdominal primary malignancies were treated. All patients were excluded from surgery and had partial or no response to chemotherapy. Radio-frequency ablation was performed by using a 100-W generator and 17-gauge, dual-lumen, cooled-tip electrode needles with a 2- to 3-cm exposed tip. Exposure time was 12 min for each needle insertion. Findings at spiral CT were used to assess the therapeutic response. A total of 127 insertions were performed (mean 2.4 +/- 1.7 insertions/lesion) during 84 treatment sessions (mean 1.6 +/- 0.7 sessions/lesion) in absence of major complications. Complete tumor response (i. e., unenhancing area of thermal necrosis larger than the treated tumor) was seen in 41 (77 %) of 53 lesions, including 33 (87 %) of 38 lesions 3 cm or less in diameter. After a mean follow-up period of 6.5 +/- 2.1 months (range 3-9 months), recurrence of the treated lesion was seen in 5 (12 %) of the 41 cases. New metastatic lesions appeared in 7 patients. Two patients died after 6 and 8 months, respectively. Of the 27 patients still in follow-up, 14 are currently free of disease. Radio-frequency thermal ablation with a cooled-tip electrode needle is a safe and effective local treatment for hepatic metastases 3 cm or less in greatest dimension.

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