Laser ablation is superior to TACE in large-sized hepatocellular carcinoma: A pilot case-control study

Italian Liver Cancer (ITA.LI.CA) group, Edoardo G.B. Giannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:Limited therapies are available for large (≥40 mm) unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Currently, the standard treatment with transarterial chemoembolisation (TACE) is unsatisfactory with high recurrence rate and limited effect on survival. Laser Ablation (LA) has emerged as a relatively new technique characterized by high efficacy and good safety. This study is aimed to evaluate the efficacy of LA in comparison to TACE in patients with large HCC. Methods: Eighty-two patients with a single HCC nodule ≥40 mm (BCLC stage A or B) were enrolled in this case-control study. Forty-one patients were treated with LA and 41 patients were treated with TACE. Response to therapy was evaluated according to the mRECIST criteria. Survival was calculated with Kaplan-Meier from the time of cancer diagnosis to death with values censored at the date of the last follow-up. Results: Twenty-six (63.4%) and 8 (19.5%) patients had a complete response after LA and TACE, respectively (p < 0.001). Subsequently we stratified the HCCs in 3 categories according to the nodule size: 40-50 mm, 51-60 mm, and > 60 mm. LA resulted superior to TACE especially in nodules ranging between 51 and 60 mm in diameter, with a complete response rate post-LA and post-TACE of 75% and 14.3%, respectively (p = 0.0133). The 36 months cumulative survival rate in patients treated with LA and TACE was 55.4% and 48.8%, respectively. The disease recurrence rates after LA and TACE were 19.5% and 75.0%, respectively. Conclusions: LA is a more effective therapeutic option than TACE in patients with solitary large HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17483-17490
Number of pages8
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Large HCC
  • Laser ablation
  • TACE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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