Background: There continues to be controversy surrounding the appropriate use of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for the treatment of colorectal liver metastases (CRLM). This study analyzes outcomes data of CRLM patients who underwent laparoscopic RFA. Outcomes of patients determined to be technically resectable were compared to patients with unresectable disease.
Methods: Data from all patients with CRLM who underwent laparoscopic RFA between 1996 and 2006 were retrospectively reviewed. A blinded independent hepatobiliary-trained surgical oncologist reviewed preoperative diagnostic imaging studies to determine resectability. Outcomes data for patients with disease deemed anatomically resectable and unresectable were analyzed and compared. Survival was calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method. The log rank test was performed to assess significance in survival.
Results: A total of 113 patients who underwent laparoscopic RFA for CRLM were identified. Twelve patients who underwent concurrent hepatic resection were excluded. Of the remaining patients, 64 were determined to have disease that was be technically resectable and 37 unresectable as a result of tumor number and/or distribution. Median and 5-year survival of the potentially resectable group was 4.3years and 48.7%, compared to 2.2 years and 18.4% in the unresectable group (P = 0.002). Median disease-free survival in the resectable group was 15.0 months, compared to 16.4 months in the unresectable group (P = 0.796). No postoperative mortality was reported in the technically resectable group, and the rate of major complications was 3.1%.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic RFA of resectable CRLM can produce comparable long-term survival to hepatic resection in carefully selected patients, with favorable morbidity and mortality.