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Reuters Health Information (2009-04-15): Laser ablation effective in early liver cancer


Laser ablation effective in early liver cancer

Last Updated: 2009-04-15 16:14:07 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Ultrasound-guided percutaneous laser ablation of early hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with hepatic cirrhosis achieves good survival rates, Italian researchers report in a paper in the Journal of Clinical Oncology published online March 30th ahead of print.

"PLA is much less invasive and associated with lower complications than surgery, and significantly lowers treatment costs by reducing treatment times, hospital stays, and the need for blood transfusion," lead investigator Dr. Claudio Maurizio Pacella told Reuters Health.

Dr. Pacella of Regina Apostolorum Hospital, Rome, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of 432 patients who underwent percutaneous laser ablation of a total of 548 tumors. An initial complete response was seen in 78% of patients and the median overall survival time was 47 months.

Patients with histologically well-differentiated hepatocellular carcinoma nodules of 2 cm or less achieved a median survival time of 68 months (5-year survival rate of 60%).

"These figures compare favorably with those reported in patients with similar clinical characteristics treated with surgery," continued Dr. Pacella. However, he added, "Good residual liver function and complete ablation are crucial to obtain such a long survival."

Summing up, he said, "Our experience now shows that percutaneous laser ablation is just as effective as surgery for the treatment of well-differentiated histology HCC, in terms of local disease control and survival. Our data add support to the view that percutaneous laser ablation is the treatment of choice for patients with nodules measuring 2.0 cm or less, even when there are not contraindications to resective surgery."

J Clin Oncol 2009;27.

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