, Volume 19, Issue 12, pp 1613-1617

Laparoscopic radiofrequency thermal ablation for unusual hepatic tumors: operative indications and outcomes

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There is increasing experience with laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation for the treatment of patients with hepatic metastasis from colorectal and neuroendocrine cancer and those with hepatocellular cancer. Little is known about the outcomes for patients with other tumor types.


Between January 1996 and March 2005, 517 patients with 1,500 primary and metastatic liver tumors underwent laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation. Among these, 53 patients (10%) had cancers other than the colorectal, neuroendocrine, or hepatocellular types including sarcoma (n = 18), breast cancer (n = 10), esophagus cancer (n = 4), melanoma (n = 4), lung cancer (n = 3), ovarian cancer (n = 2), pancreas cancer (n = 2), unknown primary cancer (n = 2), cholangiocarcinoma (n = 2), rectal squamous cancer (n = 2), renal cancer (n = 2), papillary thyroid cancer (n = 1), and hemangioendothelioma (n = 1). Unlike the criteria for treatment of the more usual tumor types, these patients had a diagnosis of liver-exclusive disease, as diagnosed by preoperative imaging. They also had failed chemotherapy.


The 53 patients underwent ablation of 192 lesions, with 8 patients undergoing repeat treatment. The hospital stay averaged 1 day, and there was no 30-day mortality. Complications included one postoperative hemorrhage, one liver abscess, and one wound infection. Tumors recurred locally for 17% of the lesions over a mean follow-up period of 24 months. The overall median survival was 33 months for the whole series, more than 51 months for breast cancer, and 25 months for sarcoma.


Laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation can safely and effectively treat hepatic metastasis of these unusual tumor types. The authors believe that this heterogeneous group of patients, selected for their unusual presentation of liver-exclusive disease, may benefit from cytoreduction of their tumor by laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation when other treatment methods have failed.

Presented at the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) meeting, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, 13–16 April 2005