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Table 1 Percutaneous RFA vs. PEI. Summary of characteristics and quality of included studies.

From: Meta-analysis of percutaneous radiofrequency ablation versus ethanol injection in hepatocellular carcinoma

Author/year of publication Design Inclusion criteria RFA P, [T] PEI P, [T] Child-Pugh A/B/C Mean follow-up (months/years) Quality
Livraghi 24 1999 quasi-RCT Cirrhosis/chronic hepatitis and HCC ≤ 3 cm. 42, [52] 44, [60] RFA 39/3/0 PEI 38/6/0 10 m. (4–28) 2Diii
Lencioni 26 2003 includes Olschewski25 RCT Cirrhosis, single HCC ≤ 5 cm or 3 nodules ≥ 3 cm each. HCC at 1 cm hepatic hilum or gallbladder. No vascular invasion or extrahepatic metastasis. Child-Pugh: A or B. No previous treatment. No candidate for resection-transplantation. 52, [69] 50, [73] RFA 45/7/0 PEI 35/15/0 RFA 22.9 ± 9.4 m. PEI 22.4 ± 8.6 m. 1iiA
Lin 27 2004 RCT Cirrhosis, HCC 1–4 cm maximum. Child-Pugh A or B. No previous treatment. Tumour site >5 mm from the hilum or common bile duct. 52, [64] 52, [56] RFA 41/11/0 PEI 39/12/0 RFA 24.5 ± 1.3 m. PEI 23.8 ± 10.4 m. 1iiA
Lin 28 2005 RCT 1–3 HCC ≤ 3 cm, a minimum of 1 cm from the hilum and gallbladder, no vascular invasion or extrahepatic metastasis. Child-Pugh A or B cirrhosis. Initial treatment. 62, [78] 62, [76] RFA 46/16/0 PEI 47/15/0 RFA 28 ± 12 m. PEI 26 ± 13 m. 1iiA
Shiina 29 2005 RCT Unresectable HCC or patient's refusal of surgery. ≤ 3 lesions ≤ 3 cm. Child-Pugh A or B. No extrahepatic metastasis or vascular invasion. No previous or simultaneous malignancy. 118, [187] 114, [192] RFA 85/33/0 PEI 85/29/0 RFA 0.6–4.3 y. PEI 0.1–4.2 y. 1iiA
Brunello 30 2008 RCT Cirrhotic patients in Child-Pugh A or B with 1–3 HCC nodes ≤ 3 cm. Tumour site ≥ 1 cm from the hilum, gallbladder, colon or stomach. No venous invasion, no metastatic disease. Patients no suitable for resection or liver transplantation. 70, [89] 69, [88] RFA 39/31/0 PEI 39/30/0 RFA 26.1 m. PEI 25.3 m. 1iiA
  1. RCT: randomised controlled trial. RFA: Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation. PEI: Percutaneous ethanol injection; P: patients; T: tumours.
  2. Quality of studies: all based on reference 19.