Radio-frequency thermal ablation of liver metastases with a cooled-tip electrode needle: Results of a pilot clinical trial

R. Lencioni, O. Goletti, N. Armillotta, A. Paolicchi, M. Moretti, D. Cioni, F. Donati, A. Cicorelli, S. Ricci, M. Carrai, P. F. Conte, E. Cavina, C. Bartolozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to evaluate feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of radio-frequency (RF) thermal ablation, performed by using a cooled-tip electrode needle, in the treatment of liver metastases. Twenty-nine patients (20 males and 9 females; age range 43-77 years) with one to four hepatic metastases 1.1-4.8 cm in diameter (mean 2.9 ± 0.8 cm) from previously resected intra-abdominal primary malignancies were treated. All patients were excluded from surgery and had partial or no response to chemotherapy. Radio-frequency ablation was performed by using a 100-W generator and 17-gauge, dual-lumen, cooled-tip electrode needles with a 2- to 3-cm exposed tip. Exposure time was 12 min for each needle insertion. Findings at spiral CT were used to assess the therapeutic response. A total of 127 insertions were performed (mean 2.4 ± 1.7 insertions/lesion) during 84 treatment sessions (mean 1.6 ± 0.7 sessions/lesion) in absence of major complications. Complete tumor response (i.e., unenhancing area of thermal necrosis larger than the treated tumor) was seen in 41 (77%) of 53 lesions, including 33 (87 % ) of 38 lesions 3 cm or less in diameter. After a mean follow-up period of 6.5 ± 2.1 months (range 3-9 months), recurrence of the treated lesion was seen in 5 (12%) of the 41 cases. New metastatic lesions appeared in 7 patients. Two patients died after 6 and 8 months, respectively. Of the 27 patients still in follow-up, 14 are currently free of disease. Radio-frequency thermal ablation with a cooled-tip electrode needle is a safe and effective local treatment for hepatic metastases 3 cm or less in greatest dimension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1205-1211
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Interventional procedure
  • Liver
  • Liver neoplasms
  • Radio-frequency ablation
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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