Effectiveness and safety in radiofrequency ablation of pulmonary metastases from HCC: a five years study

Giulia Lassandro, Stefano Giusto Picchi, Andrea Bianco, Giovangiuseppe Di Costanzo, Andrea Coppola, Anna Maria Ierardi, Francesco Lassandro

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a frequent tumor that may be treated with radiofrequency thermal ablation (RFA). RFA has been used with success also in treatment of pulmonary metastases from a wide range of primitive tumors, especially colorectal. Previous studies have shown that RFA con be used in treating HCC pulmonary metastases. Purpose of our study was a retrospective evaluation of overall survival and complication rates of percutaneous CT-guided radiofrequency ablation of pulmonary metastases from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Data were collected from 40 CT-guided ablation sessions performed on 42 lesions in 26 patients (16 M and 10 F; mean age 62.5 years) with pulmonary metastases from HCC (size range 0.3–4 cm, mean diameter 1.4 ± 0.98 cm) from February 2012 to December 2017. All patients, as in advanced stage of illness (stage C), were treated according to Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) criteria, with Sorafenib. They had no active HCC foci in the liver and no more than three metastases in the lung. Patients did not discontinue medical therapy with Sorafenib and pulmonary relapses were treated up to three times. In two patients two lesions were treated during the same procedure. Each lesion was ablated under CT guidance. Follow-up contrast-enhanced CT at 1, 3, 6, 12-month and every 6 months after treatment were reviewed. A total of 42 metastatic lung lesions from HCC in 26 patients (57% male, 43% female) were treated with CT-guided radiofrequency thermal ablation procedures. Immediate radiofrequency ablation-related complications (subtle pneumothorax) were observed in 9 of 40 procedures (22.5%). Only one patient developed a pneumothorax requiring drainage tube insertion (2.5%). No other major complications occurred. Moreover, no significant worsening of pulmonary function was observed. In all patients the overall survival rates were 88.5% at 1 year, 69.8% at 3 years and 26.2% at 5 years. Our retrospective assessment confirmed that percutaneous CT-guided radiofrequency thermal ablation in 23 patients with pulmonary metastases from HCC represents an effective and safe alternative treatment option in patients not considerable as potential candidates to surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalMedical Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Ablation
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Interventional radiology
  • Lung
  • Metastases
  • Radiofrequency
  • RFA
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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