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Korean J Radiol. 2013 Jul-Aug;14(4):626-35. doi: 10.3348/kjr.2013.14.4.626. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

Radiofrequency ablation combined with transcatheter arterial chemoembolization for the treatment of single hepatocellular carcinoma of 2 to 5 cm in diameter: comparison with surgical resection.

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Department of Radiology, Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, Hwasun 519-763, Korea.



To compare the effectiveness of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) combined with transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) with surgical resection in patients with a single hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) ranging from 2 to 5 cm.


The study participants were enrolled over a period of 29 months and were comprised of 37 patients in a combined therapy group and 47 patients in a surgical resection group. RFA was performed the day after TACE, and surgical resection was performed by open laparotomy. The two groups were compared with respect to the length of hospital stay, rates of major complication, and rates of recurrence-free and overall survival.


Major complications occurred more frequently in the surgical resection group (14.9%) than in the combined therapy group (2.7%). However, there was no statistical significance (p = 0.059). The rates of recurrence-free survival at 1, 2, 3 and 4 years were similar between the combined therapy group (89.2%, 75.2%, 69.4% and 69.4%, respectively) and the surgical resection group (81.8%, 68.5%, 68.5% and 65%, respectively) (p = 0.7962, log-rank test). The overall survival rates at 1, 2, 3 and 4 years were also similar between groups (97.3%, 86.5%, 78.4% and 78.4%, respectively, in the combined therapy group, and 95.7%, 89.4%, 84.3% and 80.3%, respectively, in the surgical resection group) (p = 0.6321, log-rank test).


When compared with surgical resection for the treatment of a single HCC ranging from 2 to 5 cm, RFA combined with TACE shows similar results in terms of recurrence-free and overall survival rates.


Combination therapy; Hepatectomy; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Radiofrequency ablation; Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization

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