Microwave thermal ablation for hepatocarcinoma: six liver transplantation cases

Transplant Proc. 2011 May;43(4):1091-4. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2011.02.044.


Surgical resection for malignant hepatic tumors, especially hepatocarcinoma (HCC), has been demonstrated to increase overall survival; however, the majority of patients are not suitable for resection. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is the most widely used modality for radical treatment of small HCC (<3 cm). It improves 5-year survival compared with standard chemotherapy and chemical ablation, allowing down-staging of unresectable hepatic masses. Microwave ablation (MWA) has been extensively applied in Asia and was recently introduced in the United States of America and Europe with excellent results, especially with regard to large unresectable HCC. Our single-center experience between May 2009 and October 2010 included application of MWA to 154 patients of median age ± standard deviation of 63.5 ± 8.5 years, 6 males, and 1 female, of mean Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score (10.1 ± 3.8). The HCC included, hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related (n=70; 45.5%); alcool (ETOH)-related (n=42; 27%), hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related (n=16; 10.5%); and cryptogenic cases (n=26; 17%). The cases were performed for radical treatment down-staging for multifocal pathology or bridging liver transplantation to orthotopic (OLT) in selected patients with single nodules. A computed tomography (CT) scan was performed at 1 month after the surgical procedure to evalue responses to treatment. Among 6 selected patients who underwent OLT; 5 (83.3%) showed disease-free survival at one-year follow-up. The radical treatment achieved no intraoperative evidence of tumor spread or of pathological signs of active HCC among the explanted liver specimens. In conclusion, a MWA seemed to be a safe novel approach to treat HCC and could serve as a "bridge" to OLT and down-staging for patients with HCC.

MeSH terms

  • Ablation Techniques* / adverse effects
  • Ablation Techniques* / mortality
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Liver Transplantation* / mortality
  • Male
  • Microwaves / adverse effects
  • Microwaves / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Necrosis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome