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J Gastrointest Surg. 2011 Feb;15(2):311-20. doi: 10.1007/s11605-010-1372-y. Epub 2010 Oct 30.

Radiofrequency ablation versus surgical resection for hepatocellular carcinoma in Childs A cirrhotics-a retrospective study of 1,061 cases.

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  • 1Department of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Treatment Centre of Liver Cancer, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.



The long-term outcomes of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) vs. surgical resection in cirrhotic patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain controversial. One thousand sixty-one cirrhotic HCC patients were included into a retrospective study. Four hundred thirteen received RFA and 648 received surgical resection.


Overall (OS), recurrence-free (RFS), and tumor-free survival (TFS) were compared between the two groups and in subgroup analyses. The 5-year OS and corresponding RFS as well as DFS were significantly higher in the surgical resection group compared with the RFA group (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, p < 0.001). In subgroup analyses of solitary HCC ≤3 cm, there was no significant difference in RFS between the two groups (p = 0.719). Nonetheless, surgical resection was superior to RFA for OS and TFS in this subgroup as well as for OS, RFS, and TFS in subgroup analyses for solitary lesions 3 cm < HCC < 5 cm and multifocal HCC. Serum AFP was the only significant predicting factor for all survival analyses.


When treating Childs A cirrhotic patients with solitary HCC larger than 3 cm but less than 5 cm, or with two or three lesions each less than 5 cm, surgical resection provides a better survival than RFA. When treating Childs A cirrhotics with solitary HCC ≤ 3 cm, RFA has a comparable RFS to surgical resection, but RFA is less invasive.

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