Only 5% to 10% of metastatic and primary liver tumors are amenable to surgical resection. Hepatic cryoablation has increased the number of patients who are suitable for curative treatment. The aim of this study was to evaluate survival and intrahepatic recurrence in patients treated with cryoablation and resection. From June 1994 to July 1999, thirty-eight surgically unresectable patients underwent a total of 42 cryoablative procedures for 65 malignant hepatic lesions. Twenty patients underwent cryoablation alone, and 18 patients were treated with a combination of resection and cryoablation, with a minimum of 18 months' follow-up. The 38 patients had the following malignancies: primary hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 8) and metastases from colorectal cancer (n = 21), neuroendocrine tumors (n = 3), ovarian cancer (n = 3), leiomyosarcoma (n = 1), testicular cancer (n = 1), and endometrial cancer (n = 1). Patients were evaluated preoperatively with spiral CT scans and intraoperatively with ultrasound examinations for lesion location and cryoprobe guidance. Local recurrence was detected by CT. Major complications included bleeding in three patients and acute renal failure, transient liver insufficiency, and postoperative pneumonia in one patient each. Two patients (5%) died during the early postoperative interval; mean hospital stay was 7.1 days. Median follow-up was 28 months (range 18 to 51 months). Overall survival according to Kapkn-Meier analysis was 82%, 65%, and 54% at 12,24, and 48 months, respectively. Forty-eight-month survival was not significantly different between those patients undergoing cryoablation alone (64%) and those treated with a combination of resection and cryoablation (42%). Diseasefree survival at 45 mouths was 36% for patients undergoing cryoablation plus resection compared to 25% for those undergoing cryoablation alone. Local recurrences were detected at five cryosurgical sites, for a rate of 12% overall (5 of 42), 11% (2 of 18) for patients in the cryoablation plus resection group, and 12% (3 of 24) for those in the cryoablation alone group. For patients with colorectal metastases, survival was 70% at 30 months compared to 33% for hepatocellular cancer and 66% for other types of tumors. Patients with tumors larger than 5 cm or numbering more than three did not have significantly decreased survival. Cryoablation of hepatic tumors is a safe and effective treatment for some patients not amenable to resection. The combination of cryoablation and resection results in survival comparable to that achieved with cryoablation alone.
- Hepatic neoplasms
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