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Acta Radiol. 2009 Sep;50(7):716-21. doi: 10.1080/02841850902991634.

Radiofrequency ablation of colorectal liver metastases downstaged by chemotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Gastroenterology L, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus,Denmark.



Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) continues to evolve, improving the potentials of this technique. It is now a widely used procedure in the treatment of patients with unresectable colorectal liver metastases, increasing the number of potentially curable patients.


To evaluate the long-term survival of patients treated by RFA for colorectal liver metastases after downstaging by systemic chemotherapy.


In a retrospective review of our prospective colorectal liver metastasis RFA database, 36 patients (20 males, 16 females; median age 67 years) were identified during an 8-year period (1999-2007). All patients were initially unsuitable for local treatment, and referred to systemic chemotherapy by our multidisciplinary team. Multinodularity and/or location of tumor was the main cause of patients being unsuitable for local treatment. Chemotherapy mainly consisted of 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin combined with oxaliplatin or irinotecan. After downstaging with chemotherapy, patients were treated by RFA. Patients with extrahepatic disease were excluded from RFA treatment. Pre- and posttreatment evaluation was performed with multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) scans.


The median time from diagnosis of hepatic metastases to first RFA was 10 months. A total of 158 tumors were treated with RFA during the study period. Median follow-up period was 27 months. The estimated median survival time after diagnosis of hepatic metastasis was 39 months, with a 5-year survival rate of 34%.


In selected patients with colorectal liver metastases downstaged by chemotherapy, RFA is an important modality that may contribute to improved survival. Furthermore, all patients responding to systemic chemotherapy should be re-evaluated by a multidisciplinary team.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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