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Lancet Oncol. 2004 Sep;5(9):550-60.

Radiofrequency ablation of liver tumours: systematic review.

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Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK.


Thermal ablation by use of radiofrequency energy can be used to achieve necrosis of liver tumours, and increased availability of this technique is leading to more widespread use. Much of the impetus for the use of radiofrequency ablation has come from cohort series that have provided an evidence base for this technique. Here, we give an overview of the current status of radiofrequency ablation for liver tumours, including its physical properties, to assess the characteristics that make this technique applicable in clinical practice. We review the technical development of probe design and summarise current indications and outcomes of reported clinical use. We also provide a profile of side-effects and information on the integration of this technique into the general management of patients with liver tumours. Current evidence suggests that radiofrequency ablation can be done with few side effects; however, although this technique seems to ablate tumours effectively, it should form part of multidisciplinary care for liver cancer. Crucially, the role of radiofrequency ablation in lengthening the survival of patients with liver tumours remains to be assessed.

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