1 Health Economics and Market Access, Ethicon Inc, Somerville, NJ, USA.
2 Health Economics and Market Access, Ethicon Inc, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
3 Medical Affairs, Ethicon Inc, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
4 Cornerstone Research Group, Burlington, ON, Canada.
Percutaneous ablation techniques, including microwave ablation (MWA) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA), have become important minimally invasive treatment options for liver cancer. This systematic review compared MWA with RFA for treatment of liver cancer.
The systematic review and meta-analysis followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials was conducted for randomized and observational studies published from 2006 onwards. A random-effects model was used for meta-analyses and local tumor progression (LTP), technique efficacy, overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), intrahepatic de novo lesions (IDL), extrahepatic metastases (EHM), length of stay (LOS), and complications were analyzed. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were also conducted.
Of 1379 studies identified, 28 randomized and observational studies met inclusion criteria. The main analysis demonstrated that LTP was significantly reduced by 30% with MWA versus RFA (RR=0.70; P=0.02) (all studies) and by 45% with MWA versus RFA (RR=0.55; P=0.007) (randomized studies only). There were no significant differences between MWA and RFA for other efficacy and safety outcomes. Higher frequency (2450 MHz) and larger tumor size (≥2.5 cm) are amongst variables that may be associated with improved outcomes for MWA. Sensitivity analyses were generally congruent with the main results.
MWA is at least as safe and effective as RFA for treating liver cancer and demonstrated significantly reduced LTP rates. Future studies should assess time and costs associated with these two treatment modalities.