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Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma: a retrospective single-center experience
Background & aims: Very few data are available in literature about the role of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) and previous studies are mainly case reports and case series on a very small number of patients and nodules. In this study, we aimed to evaluate effectiveness and safety of RFA for the treatment of unresectable ICC. Methods: This is a retrospective observational cohort study comprising all consecutive patients treated with RFA for unresectable ICC at Policlinico Sant'Orsola Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy. Primary endpoint was Local Tumor Progression-Free Survival (LTPFS) while Overall Survival (OS) was also assessed as secondary endpoint. Results: From January 2014 to June 2019, 29 patients with 117 nodules underwent RFA. Technique effectiveness 1 month after RFA was 92.3%; median LTPFS was 9.27 months. Univariate analysis and multivariate analysis showed that LTPFS was significantly related to tumor size 20 mm. At a median follow up of 39.9 months, median OS from the date of RFA was 27.5 months, with an OS of 89%, 45% and 11% at 1, 2 and 4 years, respectively. Number of overall lesions and the sum of their diameter at the moment of the first RFA significantly affected OS in multivariate analysis. Minor and major complication rates were 14% and 7%, respectively. Conclusion: Tumor size 20 mm was associated with lower LTPFS, representing a potential useful threshold value. A careful evaluation of tumor burden appears as a crucial element in choosing the best therapeutic strategy in unresectable ICC.
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