Radiofrequency ablation of high-grade dysplastic nodules


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


High-grade dysplastic nodules (HGDNs) are known to be premalignant lesions of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We devised a model to estimate the long-term survival benefit of treating HGDNs by radiofrequency ablation (RFA) (Group I), as compared with regular follow-up and timely treatment by resection (Group II). A hypothetical 60-year-old compensated patient with cirrhosis was assumed. The system being modeled was assumed to be a simple Markov process, and state transition probabilities were given as parameters. Data used for simulation were obtained by a systematic review of the literature. The reported overall malignant transformation rates of HGDNs ranged from 12.5% to 80.8%, and were assumed to be 20%, 50%, and 80% using the best, moderate, and worst scenarios for Group II, respectively. The 5-year overall survival benefit of Group I compared with Group II was calculated by summing the detrimental effect of overtreatment and the beneficial effects of avoiding operative mortality. When the overall malignant transformation rate was set at 20%, 50%, or 80% the expected additional 5-year overall survival benefits of Group I compared with Group II were −0.05%, 0.20%, and 0.47%, respectively, and the corresponding additional 10-year overall survival benefits were 0.03%, 0.33%, and 0.55%, respectively. One-way sensitivity analysis showed that Group I was preferable to Group II in terms of 5-year overall survival when the 5-year overall malignant transformation rate was greater than 25.9%. Conclusion: No definite evidence indicates that the treatment of HGDNs by RFA provides additional long-term overall survival benefit as compared with regular follow-up and timely treatment. The findings of the present study concur with the present American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases guidelines. (HEPATOLOGY 2011 )