Small liver colorectal metastases treated with percutaneous radiofrequency ablation: Local response rate and long-term survival with up to 10-year follow-up

Luigi Solbiati, Muneeb Ahmed, Luca Cova, Tiziana Ierace, Michela Brioschi, S. Nahum Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To determine the long-term (10-year) survival of patients with colorectal liver metastases treated with radiofrequency (RF) ablation and systemic chemotherapy with intention to treat. Materials and Methods: Institutional review board approval was obtained for this study. From 1997 to 2006, 99 consecutive patients with 202 small (0.8-4.0 cm; mean: 2.2 cm ± 1.1) metachronous colorectal liver metastases underwent ultrasonography-guided percutaneous RF ablation with internally-cooled electrodes in association with systemic chemotherapy. Patients ineligible for surgery (n = 80) or whose lesions were potentially resectable and who refused surgery (n = 19) were included. Patients were followed up with contrast agent-enhanced computed tomography and/ or magnetic resonance imaging for a minimum of 3 years to more than 10 years after RF ablation (n = 99, 67, 49, and 25 for 3, 5, 7, and 10 or more years, respectively). Overall local response rates and long-term survival rates were assessed. For each of these primary endpoints, Kaplan-Meier curves were generated and log-rank tests were used to assess for statistically significant differences. Results: Primary and secondary technical success rates were 93.1% (188 of 202) and 100% (14 of 14), respectively. Local tumor progression occurred in 11.9% (24 of 202) metastases, and 54.2% (13 of 24) of these were re-treated. Patient survival rates increased with re-treatment versus no re-treatment (P <.001). At follow-up, 125 new liver metastases were found, and of these 32.8% (41 of 125) were treated with RF ablation. Overall survival rates were 98.0%, 69.3%, 47.8%, 25.0%, and 18.0% (median: 53.2 months) at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 years, respectively. The major complication rate was 1.3% (two of 156), and there were no procedure-related deaths. At the time this article was written, 32.3% (32 of 99) of the patients were alive, and 67.7% (67 of 99) were deceased, with a median follow-up of 72 months. Conclusion: Adding RF ablation to systemic chemotherapy achieved local control in a large majority of metachronous colorectal liver metastases. The 3- to 10-year survival rates of this relatively large series of patients were essentially equivalent to those of most surgical series reported in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-968
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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