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Repeated radiofrequency ablation for the distant recurrence in the liver in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection achieving long-term survival


Namiki Izumi MD, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Musashino Red-Cross Hospital, Kyonancho 1-26-1, Musashinoshi, Tokyo 180-8610, Japan. Email:


Recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is frequently observed in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and the incidence of HCC recurrence is as high as 20% in these patients even after a complete curative treatment is given for the HCC nodules. We report a 57-year-old female who was referred to our hospital for the treatment of a HCC nodule of 1.8 cm diameter in S5 and having liver cirrhosis of Child–Pugh A classification with HCV infection in April 1999. The HCC nodule showed hypervascularity by computed tomography during hepatic arteriography (CTHA) and was coagulated by microwave under peritoneoscopy. Complete necrosis was confirmed by enhanced-CT scan after microwave coagulation. Thereafter, interferon alfa-2b (3MU, twice weekly) was given but HCV RNA continued to be positive. Thereafter, recurrence of HCC was noted five times in S1, S2, S6; treatment by radiofrequency ablation was given four times; and transarterial chemoembolization was carried out once. Since January 2004, peg-interferon alfa-2a (90 µm/week) has been administered, and no recurrence has been detected until August 2005. She is currently 63 years old, and quite well. Five-year-survival rate in HCC patients treated by radiofrequency ablation is 62.7% in our hospital, however, the recurrence rate is as high as 26.4% per year in the patients with chronic HCV infection. It is a point of controversy when liver transplantation should be recommended in HCC patients with liver cirrhosis of Child-Pugh A classification having chronic HCV infection because of the high incidence of recurrence.