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Eur Radiol. 2019 May;29(5):2679-2689. doi: 10.1007/s00330-018-5902-4. Epub 2018 Dec 17.

Radiofrequency ablation versus surgical resection of hepatocellular carcinoma: contemporary treatment trends and outcomes from the United States National Cancer Database.

Author information

1
Division of Interventional Radiology, Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale School of Medicine, 330 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT, 06510, USA.
2
Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Medical Center Goettingen, Göttingen, Germany.
3
Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, 330 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT, 06510, USA.
4
Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine, 330 Cedar Street, TE 2-224, New Haven, CT, 06510, USA.
5
Division of Interventional Radiology, Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale School of Medicine, 330 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT, 06510, USA. kevin.kim@yale.edu.
6
Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, 330 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT, 06510, USA. kevin.kim@yale.edu.
7
Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine, 330 Cedar Street, TE 2-224, New Haven, CT, 06510, USA. kevin.kim@yale.edu.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To compare utilization and effectiveness of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and surgical resection for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

METHODS:

The 2004-2015 United States National Cancer Database was queried for HCC patients treated by RFA and surgical resection. Patients were 1:1 propensity score matched. Duration of hospital stay, unplanned readmission rates, and overall survival (OS) were compared in the matched cohort via multivariable regression models.

RESULTS:

Eighteen thousand two hundred ninety-six patients were included (RFA, n = 8211; surgical resection, n = 10,085). RFA was more likely in young male whites with high degree of hepatic fibrosis, high bilirubin levels, high INR, and multifocal HCC; resection was more likely in those with private insurance, high income, high cancer grade and stage, and larger HCC. RFA rates varied between 32.3% (East South Central) and 58.5% (New England). Post-treatment outcomes were superior for RFA versus resection regarding duration of hospital stay (median 1 vs. 5d, p < 0.001), 30-day unplanned hospital readmission rates (3.1% vs. 4.5%, p < 0.001), and 30-/90-day mortality (0% vs. 4.6%/8%, p < 0.001). Overall survival was comparable for RFA and resection for severe hepatic fibrosis/cirrhosis (5-year OS 37.3% vs. 39.4%, p = 0.07), for patients > 65 years old (5-year OS 21.9% vs. 26.5%, p = 0.47), and for HCC < 15 mm (5-year OS 49.7% vs. 52.3%, p = 0.78). OS in the full cohort was superior for surgical resection (5-year OS 29.9% vs. 45.7%, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSION:

RFA for HCC shows substantial variation by geography, socioeconomic factors, liver function, and tumor extent. RFA offers superior post-treatment outcomes versus surgical resection and may be an alternative for older patients with cirrhosis and/or small HCC.

KEY POINTS:

• Duration of hospital stay, unplanned readmissions, and 30-/90-day mortality are lower for RFA versus surgical resection. • RFA and surgical resection show similar survival in severe hepatic fibrosis. • In HCC < 15 mm, RFA and surgical resection yield similar survival.

KEYWORDS:

Ablation technique; operative surgical procedures; Demographic factors; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Survival

PMID:
30560364
DOI:
10.1007/s00330-018-5902-4

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