Histological correlation for radiofrequency and microwave ablation in the local control of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) before liver transplantation: A comprehensive review

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3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and microwave ablation (MWA) are the most widely studied and applied ablation techniques for treating primary and secondary liver tumors. These techniques are considered curative for small hepatic tumors, with post-ablation outcomes most commonly assessed by an imaging follow up. However, there is increasing evidence of a discrepancy between radiological and pathological findings when ablated lesions are evaluated following liver resection or liver transplantation. A comprehensive review of the available literature reporting the complete pathological response (cPR) following RFA and MWA was performed to estimate the success rate and identify the factors associated with treatment failure. Following RFA, cPR is reported in 26–96% of tumors compared to 57–95% with MWA. Larger tumor size and vessels larger than 3 mm adjacent to the treated tumor are the most important factors identified by previous studies associated with viable residual tumors after RFA. Correlating post-ablation radiological studies with pathological findings shows that computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have low sensitivity but high specificity for detecting residual viable or recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumors. There are promising recent reports combining multiprobe ablation techniques with three-dimensional treatment planning software and stereotactic-aiming instrumentation to achieve more than 90% cPR in both small and large HCC tumors. In conclusion, the reported success for achieving cPR in HCC following RFA and MWA is highly variable in different studies and decreases with increasing lesion size and unfavorable tumor characteristics. Very few studies have reported a high rate of cPR. As these studies are single-center and retrospective, they need to be further validated and reproduced in other clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalCancers
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Histopathology
  • Microwave abla-tion
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Thermal ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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