, Volume 26, Issue 8, pp 985-990

Laparoscopic Radiofrequency Ablation of Neuroendocrine Liver Metastases

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We previously reported on the safety and efficacy of laparoscopic radiofrequency thermal ablation (RFA) for treating hepatic neuroendocrine metastases. The aim of this study is to report our 5-year RFA experience in the treatment of these challenging group of patients. Of the 222 patients with 803 liver primary and secondary tumors undergoing laparoscopic RFA between January 1996 and August 2001, a total of 34 patients with 234 tumors had neuroendocrine liver metastases. There were 25 men and 9 women with a mean ± SEM age of 52 ± 2 years who underwent 42 ablations. Primary tumor types included carcinoid tumor in 18 patients, medullary thyroid cancer in 7, secreting islet cell tumor in 5, and nonsecreting islet cell tumor in 4. There was no mortality, and the morbidity was 5%. The mean hospital stay was 1.1 days. Symptoms were ameliorated in 95%, with significant or complete symptom control in 80% of the patients for a mean of 10+ months (range 6–24 months). All patients were followed for a mean ± SEM of 1.6 ± 0.2 years (range 1.0–5.4 years). During this period new liver lesions developed in 28% of patients, new extrahepatic disease in 25%, and local liver recurrence in 13%; existing liver lesions progressed in 13%. Overall 41% of patients showed no progression of their cancer. Nine patients (27%) died. Mean ± SEM survivals after diagnosis of primary disease, detection of liver metastases, and performance of RFA were 5.5 ± 0.8 years, 3.0 ± 0.3 years, and 1.6 ± 0.2 years, respectively. Sixty-five percent of the patients demonstrated a partial or significant decrease in their tumor markers during follow-up. In conclusion, RFA provides excellent local tumor control with overnight hospitalization and low morbidity in the treatment of liver metastases from neuroendocrine tumors. It is a useful modality in the management of these challenging group of patients.