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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2005 Nov;16(11):1447-57.

Percutaneous laser ablation in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma with small tumors: analysis of factors affecting the achievement of tumor necrosis.

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Department of Diagnostic Imaging and Interventional Radiology, Ospedale Regina Apostolorum, Rome, Italy.



To identify the factors that affect the achievement of tumor necrosis with percutaneous laser ablation (PLA) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and tumor size no larger than 4.0 cm.


Ultrasound-guided biopsy results were retrospectively studied in 99 lesions (range, 0.5-4.0 cm; mean, 2.7 cm) from 82 patients (44 men, 38 women; age range, 50-80 years; median, 68 y) who had undergone PLA.


Complete tumor ablation was obtained in 90 lesions (90.9%). Of the nine cases in which complete tumor necrosis was not achieved, six had tumors located in sites that did not allow the optimal placement of fibers, and five of these had a tumor diameter greater than 3 cm. Early discontinuation of PLA as a result of decompensation of liver cirrhosis was the reason for not achieving a complete tumor ablation in three other cases. There was a clear relationship between the energy delivered and the volume of necrosis achieved (r = 0.56; P < .001) regardless of the initial size of HCC tumors. The number of illuminations required, and consequently the amount of energy delivered, was also affected by tumor location. In fact, lesions adjacent to large vessels (> or = 3 mm) required a greater number of illuminations than the other lesions to achieve complete ablation (2.9 +/- 1.4 vs 2.3 +/- 0.9; P = .043). The eight cases with undifferentiated histology required more illuminations than the cases with other histologic types (3.4 +/- 0.9 vs 2.2 +/- 0.9; P < .001). However, these cases were located in sites that did not allow the optimal placement of fibers, therefore requiring multiple treatments.


PLA is a highly effective treatment in HCC with a tumor size of 4.0 cm or smaller. In this setting, two variables, tumor size and tumor location, affect the achievement of complete tumor ablation and the number of treatments required to obtain tumor necrosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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