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Ann Surg Oncol. 2003 May;10(4):338-47.

Radiofrequency ablation of malignant liver tumors.

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The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Surgical Oncology, Box 444, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030-4009, USA.



Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is being used to treat primary and metastatic liver tumors. The indications, treatment planning, and limitations of hepatic RFA must be defined and refined by surgeons treating hepatic malignancies.


A review of the experience using RFA to treat unresectable primary and secondary hepatic malignancies at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and the G. Pascale National Cancer Institute in Naples, Italy, is provided. Patient selection, treatment approach, local recurrence rates, and overall cancer recurrence rates following RFA are described. The current literature on RFA of hepatic malignancies is reviewed.


RFA of hepatic tumors can be performed percutaneously, laparoscopically, or during an open surgical procedure. Incomplete treatment manifest as local recurrence is more common with a percutaneous approach. The morbidity and mortality rates associated with hepatic RFA are low. Local recurrence rates are low if meticulous treatment planning is performed. RFA can be combined safely with partial hepatic resection of large lesions. The long-term survival rates following RFA of primary and metastatic liver tumors have not yet been established.


RFA of hepatic malignancies is a safe and promising technique to produce coagulative necrosis of unresectable hepatic malignancies. Experience with this treatment modality is not yet mature enough to establish long-term outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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