Laser therapy stands up to surgery for liver tumors

March 1, 2006

MR-guided laser ablation proved as effective as surgery, the current standard of care, for the treatment of liver tumors in a study by University of Frankfurt researchers. The trial highlights the largest patient population and longest follow-up of its kind.

MR-guided laser ablation proved as effective as surgery, the current standard of care, for the treatment of liver tumors in a study by University of Frankfurt researchers. The trial highlights the largest patient population and longest follow-up of its kind.

Dr. Martin Mack and colleagues treated 2506 liver tumors with MR-guided laser-induced thermotherapy (LITT) between 1993 and 2005. They tracked patients' survival rates to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the procedure.

The average survival rate of 3.8 years for patients treated with LITT compared favorably with that of surgery, which yielded a survival rate of approximately 1.5 to five years. Mack presented the findings at the 2005 RSNA meeting.

Interventionalists can offer LITT on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. Patients spend only a few hours instead of weeks in the hospital after resection. Physicians can perform LITT simultaneously on both liver lobes and repeat treatment if they find new tumors at follow-up, which is virtually impossible by traditional surgical means, Mack said. He concluded that LITT is superior to resection in surgical candidates.