Radiofrequency Ablation and Microwave Ablation in Liver Tumors: An Update

Francesco Izzo, Vincenza Granata, Roberto Grassi, Roberta Fusco, Raffaele Palaia, Paolo Delrio, Gianpaolo Carrafiello, Daniel Azoulay, Antonella Petrillo, Steven A. Curley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article provides an overview of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and microwave ablation (MWA) for treatment of primary liver tumors and hepatic metastasis. Only studies reporting RFA and MWA safety and efficacy on liver were retained. We found 40 clinical studies that satisfied the inclusion criteria. RFA has become an established treatment modality because of its efficacy, reproducibility, low complication rates, and availability. MWA has several advantages over RFA, which may make it more attractive to treat hepatic tumors. According to the literature, the overall survival, local recurrence, complication rates, disease-free survival, and mortality in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with RFA vary between 53.2 ± 3.0 months and 66 months, between 59.8% and 63.1%, between 2% and 10.5%, between 22.0 ± 2.6 months and 39 months, and between 0% and 1.2%, respectively. According to the literature, overall survival, local recurrence, complication rates, disease-free survival, and mortality in patients with HCC treated with MWA (compared with RFA) vary between 22 months for focal lesion >3 cm (vs. 21 months) and 50 months for focal lesion ≤3 cm (vs. 27 months), between 5% (vs. 46.6%) and 17.8% (vs. 18.2%), between 2.2% (vs. 0%) and 61.5% (vs. 45.4%), between 14 months (vs. 10.5 months) and 22 months (vs. no data reported), and between 0% (vs. 0%) and 15% (vs. 36%), respectively. According to the literature, the overall survival, local recurrence, complication rates, and mortality in liver metastases patients treated with RFA (vs. MWA) are not statistically different for both the survival times from primary tumor diagnosis and survival times from ablation, between 10% (vs. 6%) and 35.7% (vs. 39.6), between 1.1% (vs. 3.1%) and 24% (vs. 27%), and between 0% (vs. 0%) and 2% (vs. 0.3%). MWA should be considered the technique of choice in selected patients, when the tumor is ≥3 cm in diameter or is close to large vessels, independent of its size. Implications for Practice: Although technical features of the radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and microwave ablation (MWA) are similar, the differences arise from the physical phenomenon used to generate heat. RFA has become an established treatment modality because of its efficacy, reproducibility, low complication rates, and availability. MWA has several advantages over RFA, which may make it more attractive than RFA to treat hepatic tumors. The benefits of MWA are an improved convection profile, higher constant intratumoral temperatures, faster ablation times, and the ability to use multiple probes to treat multiple lesions simultaneously. MWA should be considered the technique of choice when the tumor is ≥3 cm in diameter or is close to large vessels, independent of its size.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOncologist
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Efficacy
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver metastasis
  • Microwave ablation
  • Radiofrequency ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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