Long-term results of liver thermal ablation in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and colorectal cancer liver metastasis regarding spatial features and tumor-specific variables

Diagn Interv Radiol. 2024 May 13;30(3):183-192. doi: 10.4274/dir.2023.221986. Epub 2023 Mar 20.


Purpose: Colorectal cancer liver metastasis (CRLM) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are widely treated using microwave and radiofrequency ablation. Local tumor progression (LTP) may develop depending on the shortest vascular distance and large lesion diameter. This study aims to explore the effect of these spatial features and to investigate the correlation between tumor-specific variables and LTP.

Methods: This is a retrospective study covering the period between January 2007 and January 2019. One hundred twenty-five patients (CRLM: HCC: 64:61) with 262 lesions (CRLM: HCC: 142:120) were enrolled. The correlation between LTP and the variables was analyzed using the chi-square test, Fischer's exact test, or the Fisher-Freeman-Halton test where applicable. The local progression-free survival (Loc-PFS) was analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method. Univariable and multivariable Cox regression analyses were performed to identify prognostic factors.

Results: Significant correlations were observed for LTP in both CRLM and HCC at a lesion diameter of 30-50 mm (P = 0.019 and P < 0.001, respectively) and SVD of ≤3 mm (P < 0.001 for both). No correlation was found between the ablation type and LTP (CRLM: P = 0.141; HCC: P = 0.771). There was no relationship between residue and the ablation type, but a strong correlation with tumor size was observed (P = 0.127 and P < 0.001, respectively). In CRLM, LTP was associated with mutant K-ras and concomitant lung metastasis (P < 0.001 and P = 0.003, respectively). In HCC, a similar correlation was found for Child-Pugh B, serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) level of >10 ng/mL, predisposing factors, and moderate histopathological differentiation (P < 0.001, P = 0.008, P = 0.027, and P < 0.001, respectively). In CRLM, SVD of ≤3 mm proved to be the variable with the greatest negative effect on Loc-PFS (P = 0.007), followed by concomitant lung metastasis (P = 0.027). In HCC, a serum AFP level of >10 ng/mL proved to be the variable with the greatest negative effect on Loc-PFS (P = 0.045).

Conclusion: In addition to the lesions' spatial features, tumor-specific variables may also have an impact on LTP.

Keywords: Ablation techniques (D055011); colorectal neoplasm (D015179); hepatocellular carcinoma (D006528); local tumor progression (D009364); survival analysis (D016019).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / surgery
  • Catheter Ablation / methods
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / surgery
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms* / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiofrequency Ablation / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome