Reuters Health Information (2005-08-09): Radiofrequency ablation better than ethanol injection for small liver cancers
Radiofrequency ablation better than ethanol injection for small liver cancers
Last Updated: 2005-08-09 12:58:57 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - As a treatment for small
hepatocellular carcinoma, radiofrequency ablation provides better
survival than ethanol injections, with no increase in adverse events,
Japanese researchers report.
Ethanol injection is the current standard therapy for hepatocellular
carcinoma, whereas percutaneous radiofrequency ablation is a newer,
less-established treatment. While there is evidence that radiofrequency
ablation may offer better tumor destruction, until now, a comparison of
the long-term outcomes of these approaches had not been performed.
As reported in the July issue of Gastroenterology, Dr. Shuichiro
Shiina and colleagues, from the University of Tokyo in Japan, assessed
the outcomes of 232 patients with up to three small (3 cm or less in
diameter) cancerous lesions who were randomized to undergo
radiofrequency ablation or ethanol injection. All of the subjects had
liver function of Child-Pugh class A or B.
The 4-year survival rates in the radiofrequency ablation and ethanol
injection groups were 74% and 57%, respectively. Compared with ethanol
injection, radiofrequency ablation provided significantly smaller risks
of death, overall recurrence, and local tumor progression.
As noted, the rate of adverse events with each treatment modality
was comparable. However, radiofrequency ablation was associated with
fewer treatment sessions and with shorter hospital stays than ethanol
injection (p < 0.0001 for both).
"Judging from the higher survival but similar adverse events
compared with ethanol injection, radiofrequency ablation may be a
treatment of choice in patients with small, unresectable hepatocellular
carcinoma," the authors conclude.