Source Department of Liver Disease, Okayama City Hospital, Okayama, Japan.
Background: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is used to treat early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but is sometimes avoided in patients with decompensated liver cirrhosis because of the possible side effect of deterioration of liver function.
Aims: In this study, we report the safety and effects of RFA for treating HCC patients with Child-Pugh B/C liver cirrhosis. Methods: Sixty-six consecutive HCC patients with Child-Pugh B/C cirrhosis, who were treated by RFA, were enrolled in this study. We analyzed patient outcomes, the complications of RFA, and changes in liver function and tumor markers.
Results: Fifty-six patients were classified as Child-Pugh class B, and 10 were classified as class C. The overall survival rates in patients with Child-Pugh B and C cirrhosis were 82 and 83% at 1 year and 47 and 31% at 3 years, respectively. Serum total bilirubin (T.Bil), albumin, prothrombin time, ascites, and encephalopathy were unchanged at 1, 3, and 6 months after RFA in patients with Child-Pugh B cirrhosis; however, serum T.Bil levels increased significantly at 6 months after RFA in 6/10 (60%) patients with Child-Pugh C cirrhosis. Hemothorax and rupture of esophageal varices were observed in 2 patients; however, there were no complications related to poor liver function.
Conclusion: RFA is a useful modality for treating HCC in patients with poor liver function such as Child-Pugh B and C, but careful monitoring after RFA must be needed.