Local recurrence after microwave thermosphere ablation of malignant liver tumors: results of a surgical series

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Microwave thermosphere ablation is a new treatment modality that creates spherical ablation zones using a single antenna. This study aims to analyze local recurrence associated with this new treatment modality in patients with malignant liver tumors.


This is a prospective clinical study of patients who underwent microwave thermosphere ablation of malignant liver tumors between September 2014 and March 2017. Clinical, operative, and oncologic parameters were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox proportional hazards model.


One hundred patients underwent 301 ablations. Ablations were performed laparoscopically in 87 and open in 13 patients. Pathology included neuroendocrine liver metastasis (n = 115), colorectal liver metastasis (n = 100), hepatocellular cancer (n = 21), and other tumor types (n = 65). Ninety-day morbidity was 7% with one not procedure-related mortality. Median follow-up was 16 months with 65% of patients completing at least 12 months of follow-up. The rate of local tumor recurrence rate per lesion was 6.6% (20/301). Local tumor, new hepatic, and extrahepatic recurrences were detected in 15%, 40%, and 40% of patients, respectively. Local recurrence rate per pathology was 12% for both colorectal liver metastasis (12/100) and other metastatic tumors (8/65). No local recurrence was observed to date in the neuroendocrine liver metastasis and in the limited number of patients with hepatocellular cancers. Tumor size >3 cm and tumor type were independent predictors of local recurrence.


This is the first study to analyze local recurrence after microwave thermosphere ablation of malignant liver tumors. Short-term local tumor control rate compares favorably with that reported for radiofrequency and other microwave technologies in the literature.

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