OBJECTIVES - Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is widely performed for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, there has been no report on 10-year outcome of RFA. The objective of this study was to report a 10-year consecutive case series at a tertiary referral center.
METHODS - We performed 2,982 RFA treatments on 1,170 primary HCC patients and analyzed a collected database.
RESULTS - Final computed tomography images showed complete tumor ablation in 2,964 (99.4%) of 2,982 treatments performed for the 1,170 primary HCC patients. With a median follow-up of 38.2 months, 5- and 10-year survival rates were 60.2% (95% confidence interval (CI): 56.7-63.9%) and 27.3% (95% CI: 21.5-34.7%), respectively. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that age, antibody to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV), Child-Pugh class, tumor size, tumor number, serum des-γ-carboxy-prothrombin (DCP) level, and serum lectin-reactive α-fetoprotein level (AFP-L3) were significantly related to survival. Five- and 10-year local tumor progression rates were both 3.2% (95% CI: 2.1-4.3%). Serum DCP level alone was significantly related to local tumor progression. Five- and 10-year distant recurrence rates were 74.8% (95% CI: 71.8-77.8%) and 80.8% (95% CI: 77.4-84.3%), respectively. Anti-HCV, Child-Pugh class, platelet count, tumor size, tumor number, serum AFP level, and serum DCP level were significantly related to distant recurrence. There were 67 complications (2.2%) and 1 death (0.03%).
CONCLUSIONS - RFA could be locally curative for HCC, resulting in survival for as long as 10 years, and was a safe procedure. RFA might be a first-line treatment for selected patients with early-stage HCC.