"I believe that this treatment will soon enter into the guidelines for the clinical management of liver cancer patients," said the first study's lead author, Riccardo Lencioni, M.D., a radiology professor at the University of Pisa in Italy.
Consequently, RF ablation has emerged as an alternative treatment for inoperable liver cancer and may also be useful as a bridge to liver transplantations. Dr. Lencioni and colleagues performed RF ablation on 187 early-stage liver cancer patients with cirrhosis who were not candidates for surgery.
People with cirrhosis or Hepatitis B or C virus infections are at increased risk of developing liver cancer. Fewer than five percent of liver-cancer patients with cirrhosis qualify for surgical liver resection, and the liver donor shortage limits transplant availability.
"RF ablation was shown to be a safe therapeutic option, with no treatment-induced mortality and a complication rate below two percent," Dr. Lencioni said. The results also indicate that RF ablation patient survival is dependent on the type of cirrhosis and number of tumours present.
A second study published in the March issue of Radiology further demonstrates the effectiveness of RF ablation to treat liver tumours.
In this study, researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA used RF ablation to treat 47 liver cancer nodules in 24 patients who were waiting for liver transplantation. After transplantation, pathologic examinations of the diseased livers were performed to retrospectively evaluate RF ablation's effectiveness.
The researchers found that 74 percent of the tumours were successfully treated by ablation. The procedure proved more successful with smaller tumours than with larger tumours, with a success rate of 83 percent when treating tumours three centimetres or smaller.
MEDICA.de; Source: Radiological Society of North America