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Radiofrequency Ablation Type Affects Liver Tumors

Percutaneous approach best for small tumors while surgical approach best for medium tumors

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with small hepatocellular carcinoma, percutaneous radiofrequency ablation may be preferable to surgical radiofrequency ablation, while the opposite may apply to patients with medium hepatocellular carcinoma, according to research published in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Muhammad Rizwan Khan, of the University of Hong Kong, China, and colleagues studied 228 patients who underwent radiofrequency ablation of either type, including 155 who had small tumors equal to or less than 3 centimeters, and 73 who had medium-sized tumors of 3.1 to 5 centimeters.

In patients with small tumors, the researchers found that both types of radiofrequency ablation resulted in a complete ablation of 95 percent, but that complications and hospital stays were lower with the percutaneous approach. They also found that three-year survival rates were higher in the percutaneous group than in the surgical group (71 percent versus 57 percent). In patients with medium tumors, they found that complete ablation rates were similar in the surgical and percutaneous groups (92 percent and 95 percent, respectively), but that three-year survival was significantly higher in the surgical group (68 percent versus 42 percent).

"Further studies with randomized trials are required to validate the results of our current study," the authors conclude.

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