The Safety and Efficacy of Irreversible Electroporation for Large Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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This study aimed to investigate the safety and effectiveness of irreversible electroporation ablation for unresectable large liver cancer. Fourteen patients were enrolled: 8 with large hepatocellular carcinoma (tumor diameter: 5.1-11.5 cm) and 6 with medium hepatocellular carcinoma (tumor diameter: 3.0-4.1 cm). All patients received percutaneous irreversible electroporation ablation. Ablation time and the incidence of complications were assessed by a t test. Post-irreversible electroporation and regular contrast-enhanced computerized tomography scans were performed to investigate the effect of tumor size (large vs medium) on irreversible electroporation treatment efficacy; 4-table data were assessed using a Fisher exact test. The 14 patients completed irreversible electroporation ablation successfully. In the large hepatocellular carcinoma group, no major complications occurred in the perioperative period. Minor complications comprised bloating, hypokalemia, edema, low white blood cells, and blood clotting abnormalities. All complications were mild and improved after symptomatic treatment. The frequency of minor complications was not significantly different (P > .05) compared with the medium hepatocellular carcinoma group. The average follow-up time was 2.8 ± 2.1 months and complete ablation was achieved in 25% (2/8; residual = 75%). For the patients with medium hepatocellular carcinoma, the mean follow-up time was 4.3 ± 3.2 months; the rate of complete ablation was 66.6% (4/6; residual rate = 33.3%). The complete ablation rate was not statistically different between the 2 groups (P > .05). Irreversible electroporation ablation for unresectable large hepatocellular carcinoma is safe, with no major complications. Short-term efficacy is relatively good; however, long-term efficacy remains to be explored.

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