Objective: This study was conducted to evaluate the outcomes of multi-channel switching RFA using a separable cluster electrode in patients with HCC. Methods: From November 2011 to July 2013, 79 patients with 98 HCCs < 5 cm were enrolled and treated with RFA using a multi-channel switching radiofrequency system and a separable cluster electrode under the guidance of a real-time fusion imaging system. The primary and secondary endpoints were the 3-year local tumor progression (LTP) rate and recurrence-free survival (RFS) rate, respectively. For post hoc analyses, LTP, RFS, and major complication rates were retrospectively compared with a historical control group treated with RFA using the same radiofrequency system but with multiple internally-cooled electrodes. Results: The technique success rate of the 98 tumors was 100%. Cumulative 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year LTP rates were 3.4%, 6.9%, and 12.4%, respectively. For patient-level data, cumulative 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year RFS rates were 83.9%, 68.6%, and 45.4%, respectively. On post hoc analyses, none of the baseline characteristics showed a significant difference between the separable cluster electrode and multiple internally-cooled electrodes group. Cumulative LTP and RFS rates of the two groups also showed no significant difference (p = 0.401 and p = 0.881, respectively). Finally, major complication rates of the separable cluster electrode group (5.0%, 4/79) and multiple internally-cooled electrodes group (5.9%, 4/74) were also comparable (p = 1.000). Conclusion: Switching monopolar RFA using a separable cluster electrode is a feasible and efficient technique for the treatment of HCCs smaller than 5 cm, providing comparable local tumor control to multiple internally-cooled electrodes. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02745483.
Choi, J. W., Lee, J. M., Lee, D. H., Yoon, J. H., Suh, K. S., Yoon, J. H., … Han, J. K. (2016). Switching monopolar radiofrequency ablation using a separable cluster electrode in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma: A prospective study. PLoS ONE, 11(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0161980