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Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 2012 Dec;35(6):1372-9. doi: 10.1007/s00270-012-0341-0. Epub 2012 Jan 21.

Combined therapies for the treatment of technically unresectable liver malignancies: bland embolization and radiofrequency thermal ablation within the same session.

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Unit of Interventional Radiology, European Institute of Oncology, Via Ripamonti 435, 2041, Milan, Italy.



This retrospective study evaluated the feasibility, efficacy, and safety of combining transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE) with radiofrequency thermal ablation (RFA) in a single session for the treatment of technically unresectable liver-only malignancies.


From May 2006 to January 2011, a total of 30 patients affected by liver metastases with single or multiple unresectable liver-only lesions underwent a combined treatment with TAE followed by RFA in the same session, for a total of 36 treated lesions. Patients were extrapolated from a cohort of patients discussed within the weekly institutional tumor board. TAE was performed by using 100 μm microspheres; RFA was performed immediately after TAE by positioning the electrode needle via ultrasound and/or computed tomographic guidance. Local tumor responses and procedure-related complications were evaluated.


Completion of both procedures was obtained in all patients for all 36 lesions. Liver lesions had a maximum axial diameter ranging 16-59 mm. Postintervention unenhanced ablated areas ranged 28-104 mm in maximum axial diameter. Safety margins ranged 1-30.5 mm. Complete response, defined as complete devascularization at computed tomography, was obtained in all treated lesions for a maximum period of 12 months. Tumor relapse was observed in one patient at 12 months. Sixteen patients developed new liver lesions or progressive systemic disease during follow-up. Nine patients were still disease-free. Seven patients died as a result of systemic progressive disease. One major treatment-related complication was observed.


In patients with technically unresectable liver-only malignancies, single-session combined TAE-RFA is an effective and safe treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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