Surgical Resection Versus Percutaneous Radiofrequency Ablation in the Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma on Cirrhotic Liver

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Abstract

Objective:

We sought to compare the experience of 2 different surgical units in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) on cirrhosis with resection or percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA), respectively.

Summary Background Data:

When allowed by the hepatic functional reserve, surgery is the therapy for HCC on cirrhosis; alternative treatments are proposed because of the high tumor recurrence rate after resection. RFA is being widely adopted to treat HCC.

Methods:

Over a 4-year period, 79 cirrhotics with HCC underwent resection in 1 surgical unit (group A) and another 79 had RFA at a different unit (group B). Patient selection, operative mortality, hospital stay, and 1- and 3-year overall and disease-free survival were analyzed.

Results:

Group A (surgery): mean follow-up was 28.9 ± 17.9 months; operative mortality was 3.8%, mean hospital stay 9 days; 1- and 3-year survival were, respectively, 83 and 65%. One- and 3-year disease-free survival were 79 and 50%. Group B (RFA): mean follow-up was 15.6 ± 11.7 months. Mean hospital stay was 1 day (range 1–8). One- and 3-year survival were 78 and 33%; 1- and 3-year disease-free survival were 60 and 20%. Overall and disease-free survival were significantly higher in group A (P = 0.002 and 0.001). The advantage of surgery was more evident for Child-Pugh class A patients and for single tumors of more than 3 cm in diameter. Results were similar in 2 groups for Child-Pugh class B patients

Conclusions:

RFA has still to be confirmed as an alternative to surgery for potentially-resectable HCCs.

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