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Reuters Health Information (2004-12-24): Radiofrequency ablation edges ethanol in liver cancer therapy

Clinical

Radiofrequency ablation edges ethanol in liver cancer therapy

Last Updated: 2004-12-24 2:11:24 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In patients with hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) measuring 4 cm or less, radiofrequency ablation (RF) yields better clinical outcomes than ethanol injection, clinicians from Taiwan report in the December issue of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Shi-Ming Lin and colleagues from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei compared the clinical outcome of percutaneous RF, conventional percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI), and higher-dose PEI in 157 patients with 186 such HCCs.

At a mean follow-up of 24.3 months, the rate of complete tumor necrosis was higher in the RF group than in the conventional and higher-dose PEI groups (96% versus 88% and 92%). Patients in the RF group also required significantly fewer treatment sessions to achieve complete tumor necrosis.

In addition, the team reports that RF yielded "not only a lower local tumor progression and a higher cancer-free survival but also a higher overall survival rate" compared with ethanol injection.

On multivariate analysis, tumor size, tumor differentiation, and method of treatment were all significantly related to local tumor progression, and cancer-free and overall survival.

Summing up, the investigators note that although RF ablation is a "relatively low-risk procedure," it was associated with a "slightly higher" rate of major complications compared with ethanol injection. However, there were no RF-related deaths.

Gastroenterology 2004;127:1714-1723.

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