Radiofrequency Ablation versus Resection for Resectable Colorectal Liver Metastases : Time for a Randomized Trial ? An update

Mon, 16/02/2009 - 16:26 — Luc Michel
published in Digestive Surgery
2008; 25 : 445-460
Update of the editorial http://www.surgery-michel.com/content/place-radiofrequency-ablation-treatment-resectable-colorectal-liver-metastases

Abstract

Background: A recent proposal of a randomized trial comparing resection and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in a selected subgroup of patients with small resectable colorectal liver metastases (CRLM) has initiated a debate on this issue. Meanwhile, new data have been published. The aim of the study was to update and critically review the oncological evidence in favor of and against the use of RFA for resectable CRLM in general and in favor of and against conducting a randomized trial in a selected subgroup of patients.
Methods: An exhaustive review was carried out of papers and abstracts on RFA of colorectal metastases published before July 15, 2008.
Results: Local recurrence rate after resection of CRLM is 1.2–10.4%. Local recurrence rate after RFA of CRLM is between 1.7 and 66.7%. For tumors ! 3 cm, local control after open RFA is equivalent to resection. Local recurrence rates, however, are higher for larger tumors and for the percutaneous and laparoscopic route. Accumulating evidence suggests that RFA and resection induce profoundly different biological effects, which may influence survival.
Conclusions: Local recurrence rate after open RFA for CRLM < 3 cm seems to be equivalent to resection. A randomized trial under strict conditions would be justified in this subgroup of patients. A randomized trial is currently not justified for larger tumors or for percutaneous or laparoscopic RFA, since local recurrence rates in these groups are too high to be acceptable for resectable tumors.

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