Monday, February 9, 2009
MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) may provide better three-year overall survival for patients with small hepatocellular carcinomas compared with percutaneous ethanol injection, according to research published in the February issue of Hepatology.
Yun Ku Cho, M.D., of the Seoul Veterans Hospital in Seoul, Korea, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis including four randomized controlled trials with 652 patients.
Radiofrequency ablation was associated with a significant improvement in three-year survival (odds ratio, 0.477), the investigators found. Analysis according to tumor size or differentiation was not possible due to insufficient data, but two of the trials suggested a substantial survival benefit for RFA in tumors greater than 2 centimeters, but a minor benefit for those 2 centimeters or smaller.
"We believe that the additional survival benefit of RFA can be attributed to improved local tumor response of RFA. This improved local tumor response of RFA can be explained by the fact that more predictable tumor ablation was possible with RFA compared with percutaneous ethanol injection. The distribution of injected ethanol might be unpredictable due to interference of the fibrous septum or the presence of satellite nodules around the target tumor. In contrast, heat generated around the radiofrequency electrode tip is usually distributed quite homogeneously in all directions, thus making predictable ablation possible," the authors write.
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