Rates and patterns of recurrence for percutaneous radiofrequency ablation and open wedge resection for solitary colorectal liver metastasis

J Gastrointest Surg. 2007 Mar;11(3):256-63. doi: 10.1007/s11605-007-0100-8.


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to compare rates and patterns of disease progression following percutaneous, image-guided radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and nonanatomic wedge resection for solitary colorectal liver metastases.

Methods: We identified 30 patients who underwent nonanatomic wedge resection for solitary liver metastases and 22 patients who underwent percutaneous RFA because of prior major hepatectomy (50%), major medical comorbidities (41%), or relative unresectability (9%). Serial imaging studies were retrospectively reviewed for evidence of local tumor progression.

Results: Patients in the RFA group were more likely to have undergone prior liver resection, to have a disease-free interval greater than 1 year, and to have had an abnormal carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level before treatment. Two-year local tumor progression-free survival (PFS) was 88% in the Wedge group and 41% in the RFA group. Two patients in the RFA group underwent re-ablation, and two patients underwent resection to improve the 2-year local tumor disease-free survival to 55%. Approximately 30% of patients in each group presented with distant metastasis as a component of their first recurrence. Median overall survival from the time of resection was 80 months in the Wedge group vs 31 months in the RFA group. However, overall survival from the time of treatment of the colorectal primary was not significantly different between the two groups.

Conclusions: Local tumor progression is common after percutaneous RFA. Surgical resection remains the gold standard treatment for patients who are candidates for resection. For patients who are poor candidates for resection, RFA may help to manage local disease, but close follow-up and retreatment are necessary to achieve optimal results.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery*
  • Radiology, Interventional
  • Survival Rate