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Int J Surg. 2013;11(1):77-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2012.11.019. Epub 2012 Dec 6.

Radiofrequency ablation versus hepatic resection for hepatocellular carcinoma within the Milan criteria--a comparative study.

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Department of Surgery, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, 3 Lok Man Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong SAR, China.



To compare the results of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) with hepatic resection in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) within the Milan criteria.


A nonrandomized comparative study was performed with 111 consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic RFA (n = 31) or curative hepatic resection (n = 80) for HCC within Milan criteria.


Procedure related complications were less often and severe after RFA than resection (3.2% vs. 25%). There was no significant difference in hospital mortality (0% vs. 3.8%). Hospital stay was significantly shorter in the RFA group than in the resection group (mean, 3.8 vs. 6.8 days). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year disease-free survival rates for the RFA group and the resection group were 76%, 40%, 40% and 76%, 60%, 60%, respectively. Disease-free survival was significantly lower in the RFA group than in the resection group. The corresponding 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rates for the RFA group and the resection group were 100%, 92%, 84%, and 92%, 75%, 71%, respectively. The overall survival for RFA and resection were not significantly different.


Our result showed comparable overall survival between RFA and surgery, although RFA was associated with a significantly higher tumor recurrence rate. RFA had the advantages over surgical resection in being less invasive and having lower morbidity.

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