Gastroenterological Center, Yokohama City University Medical Center, 4-57 Urafune-cho, Minami-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 232-0024, Japan. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This study evaluated the safety and efficacy of using radiofrequency ablation combined with transarterial chemoembolization to treat hepatocellular carcinoma in a subcapsular location, given the increased risk of complications when using radiofrequency ablation alone.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
From January 2000 to December 2011, 1213 patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (up to three nodules) were screened. Of these, 132 patients with 132 subcapsular nodules (mean size, 3.0cm; range, 1.2-5.0cm) were enrolled in the study. After transarterial chemoembolization, percutaneous radiofrequency ablation was performed under ultrasound or C-arm cone-beam computed tomography guidance, on the same day or within 3 days. Local recurrence and survival curves were obtained using the Kaplan-Meier method.
Technical success of treatment was achieved in 130 patients (98.5%). Major complications, including pleural effusion, secondary peritonitis, and liver abscess, occurred in 3 patients (2.3%); the incidence of complications was associated with the number of needle insertions (1-2 vs. 3-4, P=0.039, Fisher's exact test). No patients developed permanent sequelae, tumor seeding, or tumor bleeding. The 3-year local recurrence rate was 9.7%. Local recurrence was associated with the pretreatment serum des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin level (≤200mAU/mL vs. >200mAU/mL, P=0.019, log-rank test). The 3-, 5-, and 7-year overall survival rates in treatment-naïve cases (n=82) were 79.3%, 60.6%, and 50.9%, respectively.
Combination therapy using radiofrequency ablation and transarterial chemoembolization was a safe and useful therapeutic option for patients with subcapsular hepatocellular carcinoma.