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Ann Surg. 2011 May;253(5):981-7. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3182128a8b.

High-intensity focused ultrasound for hepatocellular carcinoma: a single-center experience.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China.



This study aims to evaluate the outcome of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated by high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) in a single tertiary referral center.


HIFU is the latest developed local ablation technique for unresectable HCC. The initial experience on its efficacy is promising, but the survival benefit of patients undergoing HIFU for HCC is poorly defined.


From October 2006 to December 2008, 49 patients received HIFU for unresectable HCC. Each patient underwent a single session of HIFU with a curative intent. Treatment efficacy and survival outcome were evaluated. Clinicopathologic factors affecting the primary technique effectiveness and overall survival rates were investigated by univariate analysis.


The median size of the treated tumors was 2.2 cm, ranging from 0.9 to 8 cm. The majority of patients had single tumors (n = 41, 83.6%). Thirty-one patients (63.2%) had artificial right pleural effusion during HIFU treatment to reduce damage to the lung and diaphragm. The hospital mortality rate was 2% (n = 1) and the complication rate was 8.1% (n = 4). The primary technique effectiveness rate was 79.5% (39 of 49 patients). It increased from 66.6% in the initial series to 89.2% in the last 28 patients. Tumor size (≥3.0 cm) was the significant risk factor affecting the complete ablation rate. The 1- and 3-year overall survival rates were 87.7% and 62.4%, respectively. Child-Pugh liver function grading was the significant prognostic factor influencing the overall survival rate.


HIFU is an effective treatment modality for unresectable HCC with a high technique effectiveness rate and favorable survival outcome.

@ 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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