Laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation and hepatic artery infusion pump placement in the evolving treatment of colorectal hepatic metastases

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Background: Laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation (LRFA) and laparoscopic hepatic artery infusion pump (LHAIP) placement are new treatment options for patients with colorectal liver metastases. This study investigates the selection criteria, safety, efficacy, and preliminary outcomes of patients treated with LRFA and LHAIP placement. Methods: Fourty five patients with colorectal metastases confined to the liver, 37 of whom had failed systemic chemotherapy, were treated with LRFA and/or LHAIP between September 1996 and December 2001. Treatment selection was individualized, based on each patient's general health, liver function, and tumor size, number, location, and distribution. Results: Twenty patients (44%) had LRFA alone, 10 (22%) had LHAIP placement alone, and 15 (33%) patients had combined LRFA and LHAIP therapy. The LRFA group had a significantly shorter mean operative time and blood loss (p <0.05), but hospital stays were similar when compared to patients receiving LRFA + LHAIP or LHAIP alone. Tumor characteristics were worse in both LHAIP groups, with a higher incidence of tumors ?4 cm, major vascular involvement, diffuse tumor pattern, bilobar distribution, and involvement of more than three segments. During a mean follow-up period of 11.5 ± 7.8 months (range, 1–38), the actuarial survival was 70%, 67%, and 50% for LRFA, LRFA + LHAIP, and LHAIP, respectively. LHAIP only patients had the shortest estimated mean survival time of the three groups by Kaplan-Meier survival curves (p = 0.001). Conclusion: LRFA and/or LHAIP placement are safe and feasible treatment options for the treatment of colorectal hepatic metastases. The choice of treatment for patients should be based primarily on tumor characteristics. Long-term studies, which will elucidate the role of these evolving treatments, are now under way.