Microwave coagulation therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma

Gastroenterology. 1996 May;110(5):1507-14. doi: 10.1053/gast.1996.v110.pm8613057.


Background & aims: Surgical resection is not always feasible in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Microwave coagulation therapy has been used as an alternative to resection, and its efficacy has been evaluated.

Methods: Nineteen patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma underwent microwave coagulation therapy through laparotomy (n = 12), laparoscopy (n = 5), or thoracotomy (n = 2) because of advanced liver cirrhosis and/or intrahepatic metastases. One nodule was treated in 13 patients, tumor size ranged from 5 to 90 mm. Patient outcomes were studied.

Results: Microwave coagulation therapy created a reproducible regional necrosis. Fourteen patients underwent potentially curative treatment; the remaining 5 patients underwent palliative treatment (n = 4) or incomplete tumor coagulation (n = 1). Of the 31 nodules treated, 28 underwent complete tumor ablation. Only 2 patients undergoing laparoscopic microwave coagulation therapy developed local recurrence. The coagulated area subsequently shrank. Patients showed rapid recovery without hepatic dysfunction. Thirteen patients, including 2 long-term survivors, are alive either without tumor (n = 10; 14-64 months) or with tumor (n = 3; 17-22 months). Six patients died of hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 4) or liver insufficiency (n = 2).

Conclusions: This preliminary study suggests the efficacy of microwave coagulation therapy, including safety and potential curability, in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma with advanced liver cirrhosis and multifocal or central tumors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / complications
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Electrocoagulation* / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Neoplasms / complications
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Microwaves / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care
  • Prognosis