Radiofrequency ablation for hepatocellular carcinoma

Int J Hyperthermia. 2013 Sep;29(6):558-68. doi: 10.3109/02656736.2013.821528. Epub 2013 Aug 12.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common causes of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Unfortunately, only 20% of HCC patients are amenable to curative therapy (liver transplantation or surgical resection). Locoregional therapies such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA), percutaneous ethanol injection, microwave coagulation therapy, and transcatheter arterial chemoembolisation play a key role in the management of HCC. The choice of the treatment modality depends on the size of the tumour, tumour location, anatomic considerations and the number of tumours present and liver function. RFA therapy for HCC can be performed safely using a percutaneous, laparoscopic, or an open approach, even in patients with poor functional reserve. Since the introduction of RFA, several randomised controlled trials and non-randomised studies comparing RFA and other therapies for HCC have been conducted. In addition, in the last decade there have been technical advances in RFA therapy for HCC, resulting in significant improvement in the prognosis of HCC patients treated with this modality. In this review, we primarily focus on percutaneous RFA therapy for HCC and refer to current knowledge and future perspectives for this therapy. We also discuss new emerging ablation techniques.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Catheter Ablation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome