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Invest Radiol. 2004 Nov;39(11):689-97.

Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of hepatic colorectal metastases: technique, indications, results, and new promises.

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Division of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Department of Oncology, Transplants, and Advanced Technologies in Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.


Surgical resection is the standard of care for colorectal metastases isolated to the liver. However, only 10-25% of the patients are eligible for resection because of extent and location of the disease in the liver or concurrent medical conditions. Image-guided radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a minimally invasive technique that is emerging as a viable alternate treatment of nonsurgical patients with limited hepatic metastatic disease. Several series have shown that RF ablation can result in complete tumor eradication in properly selected candidates and have provided indirect evidence that the treatment improves survival. In a recent multicenter trial including 423 patients, overall survival of RF-ablation treated patients reached 47% at 3 years and 24% at 5 years. RF ablation technology is undergoing continuous improvement, and its clinical application has been successfully expanded to the treatment of colorectal metastases to the lung. Randomized trials comparing RF ablation with either surgical resection or chemotherapy protocols, however, are still missing. In this article, we review technique, indications, clinical results, and future prospects of RF ablation in the therapeutic management of metastatic colorectal cancer patients.

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