Cryoablation of unresectable malignant liver tumors

Michail Shafir, Robert Shapiro, Max Sung, Richard Warner, Arthur Sicular, Adam Klipfel

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165 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Unresectable malignant liver tumors, particularly metastases of gastrointestinal origin, are rapidly lethal in a vast majority of patients, regardless of treatment. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We evaluated 58 patients by laparoscopy and/or laparotomy. Thirty-nine were treated with cryoablation of liver tumors using a liquid-nitrogen cryoprobe delivering a tumoricidal temperature of -196°C with intraoperative ultrasound monitoring. Histologic evaluation showed that 25 patients had colorectal metastases, 3 had gastric tumors, 4 hepatocellular carcinomas, 6 carcinoids, and 1 gastrinoma. RESULTS: All patients who received complete cryoablation are alive with a mean follow-up of 14 months. Five whose treatment could not be completed died between 3 and 9 months postoperatively. Thirteen patients (28%) have recurrent disease and 20 (51%) have no evidence of disease. There were no operative mortalities. Postoperative transient elevation of liver function tests and thrombocytopenia were noted. All patients received postoperative chemotherapy. CONCLUSION: Cryoablation is an active and safe treatment for advanced liver malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-31
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996


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