Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation for early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma as a first-line treatment: long-term results and prognostic factors in a large single-institution series
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term survival results and complications of percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in patients with early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Between April 1999 and May 2005, 570 patients with 674 early-stage HCCs underwent percutaneous RFA as a first-line treatment option in a single institution. We evaluated the effectiveness rates, local tumor progression rates, survival rates, and complications. We also assessed the prognostic values of survival rates by using Cox proportional hazard models. The primary technique effectiveness rate was 96.7% (652 of 674). The cumulative rates of local tumor progression at 1, 2, and 3 years were 8.1%, 10.9%, and 11.8%, respectively. The cumulative survival rates at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years were 95.2%, 82.9%, 69.5%, 60.8%, and 58.0%, respectively. Patients with Child-Pugh class A cirrhosis, of younger age (≤58 years), or having lower AFP level (≤100 μg/L) demonstrated better survival results (P < 0.05). A total of 11 major complications (1.9% per treatment) were found during the follow-up period. There was no procedure-related death. Percutaneous RFA can be used successfully as a first-line treatment modality for early-stage HCCs. Child-Pugh class, age, and AFP level before RFA were significant prognostic predictors of long-term survival.