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Eur J Ultrasound. 2001 Jun;13(2):149-58.

Radiofrequency thermal ablation of hepatic metastases.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, General Hospital, 21052, Busto Arsizio, Italy.


Percutaneous radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a promising therapeutic option for liver metastases, which may result in prolonged survival and chance for cure. Recent technological advancements provide larger coagulation volumes, allowing treatment of medium- and large-size metastases. Candidates are patients with metachronous liver metastases from colorectal or other primary cancers, in whom surgery is contraindicated and with one to four nodules each smaller than approx. 4 cm. We treated 109 patients with 172 colorectal metastases in the liver. Local control was obtained in 70.4% of lesions. Recurrence was significantly more frequent in lesions >3 cm. One major complication occurred (0.6% of sessions), a large bowel perforation requiring surgery. Seven minor complications did not require therapy. New metastases developed at follow-up in 50.4% of patients. Survival rates are 67% and 33% after 2 and 3 years, respectively; estimated median survival being 30 months. RF ablation advantages include minimal-invasiveness (no mortality, significantly lower complications), reduced costs and hospital stays compared to surgery, feasibility in non-surgical candidates, and the potential of repeated treatment if local recurrence occurs or new metastases develop.

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