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Hepatol Res. 2014 Oct;44(11):1095-101. doi: 10.1111/hepr.12233. Epub 2013 Oct 25.

Efficacy and long-term outcomes of radiofrequency ablation in the elderly with hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Center for Gastroenterology, Teine Keijinkai Hospital, Sapporo, Japan.



The use of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in elderly patients is increasing in those with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study compares the elderly (≥75 years old) to non-elderly patients (<75 years old) in the outcomes of the efficacy and safety of RFA.


Three hundred and thirty-five patients, 103 elderly and 232 non-elderly, with naive HCC who were treated with RFA from 1999 to 2012 were enrolled. Patient characteristics, complications, length of hospital stay, overall survival (OS), median survival time (MST), recurrence-free survival (RFS) and factors related to OS were analyzed.


Median age was 79 years (range, 75-88) in the elderly group and 65 years (38-74) in the non-elderly group. The proportion of women (45.6% and 28.0%), hepatitis C virus infection (63.1% and 50.4%) and comorbidities (78.6% and 44.0%) in the elderly group compared to the non-elderly group, respectively, was significantly higher. No difference existed in the complications and length of hospital stay. The 5-year OS rates and MST were 67.3% and 90.5 months in the elderly group and 60.9% and 86.4 months in the non-elderly group, respectively (P = 0.486). The median RFS time was 20 months in the elderly group and 18.7 months in the non-elderly group (P = 0.429). In multivariate analysis, the Child-Pugh grade and tumor-node-metastasis stage were significantly associated with OS (P < 0.001, =0.003); age was not (P = 0.355).


RFA in elderly patients is as effective and safe as in non-elderly patients for the treatment of HCC.


elderly patient; hepatocellular carcinoma; long-term outcome; radiofrequency ablation

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