Goals: To prospectively evaluate the therapeutic potential of magnetic resonance (MR)-guided laser-induced thermotherapy (LITT) in patients with oligonodular hepatocellular carcinoma.
Study: A total of 113 patients with 175 intrahepatic lesions were treated with MR-guided LITT. The Nd-YAG laser fiber was introduced with a percutaneously positioned irrigated laser application system. Qualitative and quantitative MR parameters and clinical data were evaluated. Survival data were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method.
Results: All patients tolerated the procedure well under local anesthesia. The total procedure time was 90 minutes. All observed complications were minor and no further treatment was necessary. Online MR thermometry allowed exact visualization of the extension of laser-induced changes and their relationship to the neighboring anatomy. Lesions up to 2 cm in diameter could be efficiently treated with a single laser application; larger lesions were treated with a dual, triple, and quadruple simultaneous application. In 98% of the patients we achieved a complete necrosis of the tumor and up to 5 mm of safety margin. The mean survival rate for all patients, with calculation started on the date of diagnosis of the HCC nodules treated with LITT, was 4.9 years (95% confidence interval, 3.6, 5.1). The median survival rate for all patients, with calculation started on the date of diagnosis of the HCC nodules treated with LITT, was 3.5 years (95% confidence interval, 2.7, 4.2). One-year survival was 95%; 2-year survival 72%, 3-year survival 54%; and 5-year survival 30%.
Conclusions: In intrahepatic oligonodular involvement of hepatocellular carcinoma LITT appears to be an effective therapeutic procedure.