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New SHTAC publication on ablative therapies in the management of liver metastases

Published: 27 February 2014
Report on liver metastases ablation

A new report on the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ablative therapies in the management of liver metastases has been published in Health Technology Assessment.

When malignant cells from a primary cancer spread via blood or lymphatic systems, one of the places they may settle and proliferate is the liver.  These secondary tumours in the liver are called liver metastases.  Treatment for liver metastases has largely been surgical removal but this is often not feasible.  Therefore non-surgical alternatives have been developed which include various forms of ablative therapies.  These aim to destroy a localised area of abnormal tissue for example by using thermal energy (heat e.g. radiofrequency ablation, or cold e.g. cryoablation) to kill the cells.  The report finds that there is limited high-quality research evidence upon which to base any firm decisions regarding ablative therapies for liver metastases and suggests that further trials in a carefully selected patient group should compare ablative therapies with surgery.  Future trials should include a full economic evaluation.  The report ‘The clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ablative therapies in the management of liver metastases: systematic review and economic evaluation' is freely available from the NIHR Journals Library.

For more information on SHTAC's research into liver cancer please visit our Research page

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