Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of small hepatocellular carcinoma: Long-term results

L. Buscarini, E. Buscarini, M. Di Stasi, D. Vallisa, P. Quaretti, A. Rocca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness and the safety of percutaneous radiofrequency (RF) thermal ablation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in 88 patients with a long follow-up, and to compare conventional electrodes and expandable electrodes. Eighty-eight patients with 101 hepatocellular carcinoma nodules (≤3.5 cm in diameter) underwent RF thermal ablation by means of either conventional electrodes or an expandable electrode. Therapeutic efficacy was evaluated with dynamic contrast CT, serum α-feto protein level, US examination at the end of the treatment, and during follow-up. Complete necrosis was obtained in all tumor nodules in a mean number of 3.3 sessions (tumor treated by conventional electrodes) or 1.5 sessions (tumor treated by expandable electrode). The mean follow-up was 34 months; overall survival rate was 33% at 5 years. Disease-free survival at 5 years was 3%; local recurrence rate was 29% in patients treated with conventional electrodes; 14% in patients treated with the expandable electrode. Two major complications and 14 minor complications were observed. Radiofrequency thermal ablation in small HCC is very effective with a low percentage of major complications. The use of an expandable electrode substantially reduced the number of treatment sessions but did not modify the overall survival rate and the disease-free survival rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)914-921
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Dynamic contrast CT
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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