PURPOSE: To investigate the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of single-session ethanol ablation with multipronged needles in the treatment of early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MATERIALS AND METHODS: A pilot clinical study enrolled 20 patients with Child-Pugh A-B cirrhosis (15 men and 5 women 53-84 years old [mean 70.3 years old ± 8.3, median 72 years old]) and with 25 HCC tumors 1.2-3.8 cm in longest diameter (mean 2.3 cm ± 0.6) located in unfavorable locations for radiofrequency (RF) ablation. Ethanol ablation was performed under moderate sedation using a multipronged injection needle (Quadra-Fuse; REX Medical, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania) and ultrasound guidance. Follow-up period ranged from 12-24 months (mean 15.9 months ± 4.6, median 16 months) and included contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MR) imaging performed 1 month after treatment and at 3-month intervals thereafter. RESULTS: The treatment protocol was successfully completed in all patients (technical success rate 100%). No major complications were observed. A single treatment session with injection of 5-26 mL of ethanol (mean 9.5 mL ± 5.5) resulted in complete tumor ablation at 1 month CT or MR imaging in 21 (84%) of 25 tumors. A second treatment session increased the number of tumors with complete response (CR) to 23 of 25 (primary effectiveness rate 92%). Tumor progression was observed in three cases during the follow-up period, for a rate of confirmed CR of 80% (20 of 25). CONCLUSIONS: Ethanol ablation performed with a multipronged injection needle was not associated with any major complications and resulted in a high rate of confirmed CR. This technique offers an alternative to RF ablation for single-session treatment of early-stage HCC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine