Purpose: To determine the potential efficacy of radio-frequency (RF) ablation of liver metastases during long-term follow-up.
Materials and methods: Sixteen patients with 31 hepatic metastases were treated with percutaneous, ultrasound-guided RF ablation. RF was applied to monopolar electrodes (2-3-cm tip exposure) either individually or within a multiprobe array (two to four probes) for 6 minutes at 90 degrees C over one to four treatment sessions per metastasis.
Results: In only one of 75 sessions, a moderate complication, self-limited intraperitoneal hemorrhage, was observed. Four patients (four lesions) underwent surgical resection 15-60 days after RF treatment. Residual, viable tumor was seen in all of these patients. The remaining 12 patients were followed up for 9-29 months (mean, 18.1 months). In these patients, 18 of 27 lesions remained stable or decreased in size and showed no enhancement at computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging for at least 9 months. Two patients died of disseminated disease at 13 months and one at 16 months. Disease-free survival was achieved in eight patients.
Conclusions: RF ablation appears to be a simple, safe, and potentially effective treatment for selected patients with liver metastases and may become a less invasive alternative to surgical therapy.