Although percutaneous ethanol injection therapy (PEIT) is best indicated for patients with small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the survival advantage of PEIT needs confirmation in real-world practice. This study was approved by the institutional review board, and the informed consent was waived. The study included 535 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed early stage (Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer [BCLC] 0 or A) HCC who underwent initially radiofrequency ablation (RFA) (n=288) or PEIT (n=247) from January 2005 to December 2010. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS) and the secondary outcome was time to progression (TTP). The longest diameters of tumors of the groups differed significantly and larger for RFA group than PEIT group (P<0.001; 1.94±0.65cm vs 1.60±0.50cm, respectively). The 5-year OS rates were 72.2% in the RFA group and 67.4% in the PEIT group (P=0.608). Even after propensity score matching, OS rates between the 2 groups were similar (5-year OS: 72.8% with RFA [n=175] and 68.0% with PEIT [n=175]) (P=0.709). Moreover, in patients with the longest diameter of tumors (1.5 cm), multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that the treatment modality was not a significant prognosticator for OS (hazard ratio [HR], 1.690; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.828-3.449; P=0.149) and time to progression (HR, 1.160; 95% CI, 0.773-1.740; P=0.474). PEIT and RFA show equal effectiveness in treating HCCs <1.5cm in terms of OS and time to progression.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Percutaneous ethanol injection therapy
- Radiofrequency ablation