Percutaneous cryoablation for the treatment of liver cancer at special sites: an assessment of efficacy and safety

Jianbing Ma, Fuming Wang, Weiqiang Zhang, Lizhang Wang, Xiaofeng Yang, Ying Qian, Jianjun Huang, Jia Wang, Jijin Yang


Background: To assess the safety and efficacy of cryoablation (CA) devices for the treatment of liver cancer at special sites in a retrospective study.
Methods: Special site liver cancer was defined as the tumors directly abutting surrounding structures (such as the liver capsule, gallbladder, vessel, diaphragm, intestine, and adrenal gland) with a maximum distance of 1.0 cm between the tumor and these organs. Sixty-six patients (49 men, 17 women; mean age, 60.8 years; age range, 27–82 years) were included. CA procedure was performed to treat 69 tumors under the guidance of computed tomography or ultrasound. Local tumor progression was assessed during the follow-up. A visual analog scale (VAS) evaluated the pain degree. Complications were assessed during and after every procedure.
Results: The number of tumors under the liver capsule and adjacent to the gallbladder, portal or hepatic vein, diaphragm, intestine, and adrenal gland were 29, 5, 8, 14, 7, and 6, respectively. The median follow-up time was 14 months (range, 2–28 months). In the 69 procedures, the technical success rate was 100%. The cumulative local tumor progression rates at 6, 9, 15, and 24 months were 10.2%, 16.5%, 20.9%, and 30.5%, respectively. No cases of serious complications occurred. During operation, the occurrence rates of subcapsular hemorrhage and pneumothorax were 2.9% and 1.4%, respectively. After the operation, the occurrence rate of biloma, capsular injury, subcapsular planting metastasis, and pneumothorax were 1.4%, 18.8%, 1.4%, and 2.8%, respectively. The average score of 66 patients with a VAS was 2.15±0.63 during the operation.
Conclusions: Percutaneous CA is safe and effective for patients with special site liver cancer.