Background: Optimal treatment of large-sized hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is still debated, because percutaneous ablation therapies alone do not always achieve complete necrosis. Objective: To report our experience in the treatment of patients with HCC larger than 4 cm in diameter by combined percutaneous ethanol injection and radiofrequency thermal ablation. Methods: In a 5-year period there were 40 consecutive patients meeting the inclusion criteria (24 men and 16 women; age range 41-72 years, mean 58 years). These subjects had a single HCC larger than 4 cm. Twelve subjects also had one or two additional nodules smaller than 4 cm (mean 1.2 nodules per patient). Patients were submitted to one to three sessions consisting of ethanol injection at two opposite tumor poles (mean 12 ml) and then of radiofrequency application through one or two electrodes placed at the tumor center (mean treatment duration 30 min). Results: Complete necrosis was obtained in all cases with one to three sessions (mean 1.3 sessions per patient). All patients experienced pain and fever but one only subject had a major complication requiring treatment (abscess development and fistulization). Overall follow-up was 7-69 months. Two patients showed local recurrence and 9 developed new etherotopic HCC nodules. Seven subjects died during follow-up while 33 were free from recurrence 8-69 months after treatment. Conclusion: A combination of ethanol injection and radiofrequency ablation is effective in the treatment of large HCC.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Percutaneous ethanol injection
- Radiofrequency ablation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine