Radiofrequency treatment better than ethanol injection for small liver tumors

Feb 03, 2009

A new review of four randomized controlled trials that directly compared two different treatments for small inoperable liver tumors has found that radiofrequency ablation (RFA) significantly improves patient survival compared to the standard therapy of percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI). These findings are in the February issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

AASLD guidelines recommend PEI as a safe and highly effective treatment for small hepatocellular carcinomas and say it is the standard against which new therapies should be compared. RFA is one of a handful of alternative nonsurgical treatments for small liver tumors. It has a higher rate of adverse events and is not always usable depending on the location of the tumor, however, some studies have suggested it offers a greater survival benefit compared to PEI.

To determine the benefit of RFA compared to PEI, researchers led by Yun Ku Cho of Seoul conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that compared the two therapies. Using databases and manual searches, they identified all relevant, peer-reviewed studies published from 1978 through July 2008. Ultimately, only four studies, which included a total of 652 patients, contained enough information for a meta-analysis of three-year overall survival.

"Most randomized controlled trials identified definite survival benefit favoring RFA compared to PEI except the latest trial published in 2008," the authors note. Their meta-analysis also detected a significant improvement in three-year survival for patients who'd undergone RFA.

"The additional survival benefit of RFA can be attributed to improved local tumor response of RFA, which in turn can be explained by the fact that more predictable tumor ablation was possible," the authors suggest. While injected ethanol might be stopped by the liver's fibrous septum or by satellite nodules, the heat from the radiofrequency electrode tip is distributed more homogenously.

The article is also available online at Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com).

Source: Wiley

Explore further: Odds of reversing ICU patients' preferences to forgo life-sustaining care vary, study finds

Related Stories

Screening does not reduce prostate cancer deaths

Apr 01, 2011

Screening does not significantly reduce prostate cancer deaths, but the risk of overdetection and overtreatment is considerable, concludes a 20-year study published in the British Medical Journal today.

FDA approves new drug for advanced melanoma

Mar 25, 2011

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the use of ipilimumab for the treatment of previously treated metastatic melanoma. It is the first drug approved for metastatic, or advanced, melanoma is more than a decade.

Recommended for you

2015 match sees high proportion of unmatched seniors

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—About 6.1 percent of U.S. allopathic medical school seniors in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) were not placed into first-year residency positions, with a higher percentage of ...

What to do with kidneys from older deceased donors?

Mar 26, 2015

A new study highlights the best way to use kidneys from older deceased donors, providing the most benefits to patients and addressing the worsening organ shortage. The study's findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.