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World J Surg. 2012 Jan;36(1):151-6. doi: 10.1007/s00268-011-1323-0.

Survival analysis of re-resection versus radiofrequency ablation for intrahepatic recurrence after hepatectomy for hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, 102 Pok Fu Lam Road, Hong Kong, L454, China.



Tumor recurrence after resection of hepatocellular carcinoma is a common phenomenon. Re-resection and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) are good options for treating recurrent HCC. This study compared the efficacy of these two modalities in the treatment of intrahepatic HCC recurrence after hepatectomy.


From January 2001 to December 2008, a total of 179 patients developed intrahepatic HCC recurrence after hepatectomy. To treat the recurrence, 29 patients underwent re-resection and 45 patients had RFA. Patient characteristics, clinicopathologic data, and survival outcomes were reviewed.


Child-Pugh status, time to develop first recurrence (12.2 vs. 8.7 months), and recurrent tumor size (2.1 vs. 2.1 cm) were comparable for the two groups. Time to develop a second intrahepatic recurrence after re-resection and RFA was 5.9 and 4.0 months respectively. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year disease-free survival rates were 41.4%, 24.2%, and 24.2% after re-resection and 32.2%, 12.4%, and 9.3% after RFA (p = 0.14). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rates were 89.7%, 56.5%, and 35.2% after re-resection and 83.7%, 43.1%, and 29.1% after RFA (p = 0.48). For the second recurrence, 33.3% of patients underwent a second round of RFA and 10.0% underwent a third resection.


The two treatment modalities attained similar survival benefits in the management of recurrent HCC after hepatectomy. The high repeatability of RFA and that it can be delivered percutaneously render it a preferred treatment option for selected patients.

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