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Exp Clin Transplant. 2014 Mar;12 Suppl 1:55-9.

Local ablation for hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Baskent University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.


Surgical options for hepatocellular carcinoma must be considered first; if not, image-guided tumor ablation is recommended. The Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer classification system is commonly used for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. This classification system is important for image-guided tumor ablation. According to Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer system, percutaneous tumor ablation is recommended for early stage hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatocellular carcinoma nodules smaller than 2 cm, not subcapsular or perivascular, are ideal nodules for image-guided radiofrequency ablation. In patients with early hepatocellular carcinoma, the rate of complete response is approximately 97%, with a 68% of 5-year survival rate. Early stage hepatocellular carcinoma includes patients with preserved liver function (Child-Pugh score A or B), with solitary hepatocellular carcinoma, or up to 3 nodules less than 3 cm. it is important to the success of radiofrequency ablation to ablate all viable tumor cells and to create tumor-free margin. The best results are achieved if the tumor is less than 3 cm. If the tumor is between 3 and 5 cm, the success rate of radiofrequency ablation is decreased. Therefore, combination treatment has emerged for better results if the hepatocellular carcinoma nodule is larger than 3 cm and smaller than 5 cm. Radiofrequency ablation offers better survival than ethanol injection if the nodule larger than 2 cm. Microwave ablation can cause higher intratumoral temperatures, larger tumor ablation volumes, and faster ablation times. However, no statistically significant differences were observed between the two. A nonchemical and nonthermal image-guided ablation technique is irreversible electroporation. Irreversible electroporation causes irreversible disruption of the cell membrane integrity by changing the transmembrane potential. One advantage of this technique is complete ablation of the margin of the vessels. It can be applied to the nodules that is centrally located.

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