Radiofrequency thermal ablationof hepatic metastases

Luigi Solbiati, Tiziana Ierace, Massimo Tonolini, Valeria Osti, Luca Cova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Percutaneous radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a promising therapeutic option for liver metastases, which may result in prolonged survival and chance for cure. Recent technological advancements provide larger coagulation volumes, allowing treatment of medium- and large-size metastases. Candidates are patients with metachronous liver metastases from colorectal or other primary cancers, in whom surgery is contraindicated and with one to four nodules each smaller than approx. 4 cm. We treated 109 patients with 172 colorectal metastases in the liver. Local control was obtained in 70.4% of lesions. Recurrence was significantly more frequent in lesions >3 cm. One major complication occurred (0.6% of sessions), a large bowel perforation requiring surgery. Seven minor complications did not require therapy. New metastases developed at follow-up in 50.4% of patients. Survival rates are 67% and 33% after 2 and 3 years, respectively; estimated median survival being 30 months. RF ablation advantages include minimal-invasiveness (no mortality, significantly lower complications), reduced costs and hospital stays compared to surgery, feasibility in non-surgical candidates, and the potential of repeated treatment if local recurrence occurs or new metastases develop.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Ultrasound
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001


  • Liver CT
  • Liver metastasis
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Bioengineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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