New technique in treating patients with liver cancer proves effective

April 11, 2008

Use of multipolar radiofrequency ablation in the treatment of colorectal liver metastases is effective and has a relatively low recurrence rate, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at Charité, Campus Benjamin Franklin in Berlin, Germany.

“Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has become a widely used treatment option for patients with primary liver cancer and liver metastases from some primary tumors, if surgery is not an option. However, because of limited sizes of the ablation zones the technique has been limited to tumors smaller than four centimeters,” said Bernd Frericks, MD, lead author of the study.

“This long-term study (four years) was performed using a new multipolar radiofrequency (RF)-device allowing for up to six ablation probes to be used simultaneously, thus providing larger ablation zones. We evaluated this new technique prospectively regarding ablation zone size, technical effectiveness, complications and clinical outcome in patients with colorectal liver metastases,” he said.

The study evaluated 27 patients with 67 colorectal liver metastases that were treated using multipolar RF ablation. According to the study, complete tumor destruction occurred in 66 of 67 cases. Of the 67 metastases, eight required reablation. After a mean of nine months, 16 patients developed new metastases in the liver and the lung, eight of which were successfully reablated. After four years, 52% of the patients are now tumor-free and 78% are still living.

“Using this new device, the rate of local tumor progressions was not influenced by the size of the tumor to be treated,” said Dr. Frericks.

Source: American Roentgen Ray Society

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