Outcomes after resection and/or radiofrequency ablation for recurrence after treatment of colorectal liver metastases

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Repeat liver resection for colorectal liver metastases (CRLMs) is possible in a limited number of patients, with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) as an alternative for unresectable CRLMs. The aim of this study was to analyse survival rates with these interventions.


This was a database analysis of patients who underwent first and repeat interventions for synchronous and metachronous CRLMs between 2000 and 2013. Descriptive and survival statistics were calculated.


Among 431 patients who underwent resection or RFA for CRLMs, 305 patients developed recurrences for which 160 repeat interventions (resection and/or RFA or ablative radiotherapy) were performed. In total, after 707 first or repeat interventions, 516 recurrences (73·0 per cent) developed, of which 276 were retreated curatively. At the time of first intervention, independent risk factors for death were lymph node-positive primary tumour (hazard ratio (HR) 1·40;P= 0·030), more than one CRLM (HR 1·53;P= 0·007), carcinoembryonic antigen level exceeding 200 ng/ml (HR 1·89;P= 0·020) and size of largest CRLM greater than 5 cm (HR 1·54;P= 0·014). The 5-year overall survival rates for liver resection and percutaneous RFA as first intervention were 51·9 and 53 per cent, with a median overall survival of 65·0 (95 per cent c.i. 47·3 to 82·6) and 62·1 (52·2 to 72·1) months, respectively.


RFA had good oncological outcomes in patients with unresectable CRLMs. Radiofrequency ablation is progressively more applied with each additional intervention.

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