Multiple-electrode radiofrequency ablation of hepatic malignancies: initial clinical experience

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2007 Jun;188(6):1485-94. doi: 10.2214/AJR.06.1004.


Objective: The objective of our study was to retrospectively analyze our initial clinical experience with percutaneous multiple-electrode radiofrequency ablation and evaluate its safety and efficacy for treating hepatic malignancies.

Materials and methods: Thirty-eight malignant hepatic tumors (mean diameter, 2.7 cm; range, 0.7-10.0 cm) in 23 patients (12 men and 11 women; mean age, 65 years; range, 40-84 years) were treated in 26 radiofrequency ablation sessions with an impedance-based multiple-electrode system. One, two, or three (mean, 2.4) 17-gauge electrodes were placed, and tumors were ablated using a combination of CT and sonography for guidance and monitoring. Electrodes were placed in close proximity (mean spacing: two electrodes, 1.0 cm; three electrodes, 1.4 cm) to treat large tumors or were used independently to treat several tumors simultaneously. Contrast-enhanced CT scans were obtained immediately after ablation to determine technical success and evaluate for complications. Follow-up CT scans at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months (mean, 4 months) after ablation were obtained to assess for tumor progression and new metastases.

Results: Local control was achieved in 37 of 38 tumors, 34 of which were treated in one session. Ablations created with closely spaced electrodes had a mean diameter of 4.9 cm. The total ablation time was reduced by approximately 54% compared with an equivalent number of ablations performed with a single-electrode system (1,014 vs 2,196 minutes). Three complications occurred: one death from a presumed postprocedure pulmonary embolus, one pneumothorax, and one asymptomatic perihepatic hemorrhage.

Conclusion: Multiple-electrode radiofrequency ablation appears to be a safe and effective means of achieving local control in large or multiple hepatic malignancies at short-term follow-up.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Catheter Ablation / adverse effects
  • Catheter Ablation / instrumentation*
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Electrodes*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography