RFA vies with surgery for treating liver tumors

January 17, 2006

Radiofrequency ablation is as effective as resection for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma, according to a study presented at the joint RSNA/SIR Foundation Interventional Oncology Symposium. The key factor is RFA's ability to easily repeat treatment on recurring tumors in a less destructive fashion than surgery.

Radiofrequency ablation is as effective as resection for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma, according to a study presented at the joint RSNA/SIR Foundation Interventional Oncology Symposium. The key factor is RFA's ability to easily repeat treatment on recurring tumors in a less destructive fashion than surgery.

Dr. Riccardo Lencioni and colleagues at the University of Pisa compared 38 resections with 124 RFA treatments for patients with single lesions of 5 cm or less. The case-controlled investigation of overall survival rates, tumor progression, and tumor recurrence found a three-year survival rate of 72% for patients treated with RFA versus 65% for those treated with resection. The difference is not statistically significant.

"The long-term survival is the result of a series of treatments," Lencioni said. "A minimally invasive approach is the key because you don't deteriorate the liver function. With surgery, you have the best outcome in terms of local control, but the price is high."