Likelihood of Incomplete Kidney Tumor Ablation with Radio Frequency Energy: Degree of Enhancement Matters

Aaron H. Lay, Jeremy Stewart, Noah E. Canvasser, Jeffrey A Cadeddu, Jeffrey Gahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose Larger size and clear cell histopathology are associated with worse outcomes for malignant renal tumors treated with radio frequency ablation. We hypothesize that greater tumor enhancement may be a risk factor for radio frequency ablation failure due to increased vascularity. Materials and Methods A retrospective review of patients who underwent radio frequency ablation for renal tumors with contrast enhanced imaging available was performed. The change in Hounsfield units (HU) of the tumor from the noncontrast phase to the contrast enhanced arterial phase was calculated. Radio frequency ablation failure rates for biopsy confirmed malignant tumors were compared using the chi-squared test. Multivariate logistic analysis was performed to assess predictive variables for radio frequency ablation failure. Disease-free survival was calculated using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Results A total of 99 patients with biopsy confirmed malignant renal tumors and contrast enhanced imaging were identified. The incomplete ablation rate was significantly lower for tumors with enhancement less than 60 vs 60 HU or greater (0.0% vs 14.6%, p=0.005). On multivariate logistic regression analysis tumor enhancement 60 HU or greater (OR 1.14, p=0.008) remained a significant predictor of incomplete initial ablation. The 5-year disease-free survival for size less than 3 cm was 100% vs 69.2% for size 3 cm or greater (p <0.01), while 5-year disease-free survival for HU change less than 60 was 100% vs 92.4% for HU change 60 or greater (p=0.24). Conclusions Biopsy confirmed malignant renal tumors, which exhibit a change in enhancement of 60 HU or greater, experience a higher rate of incomplete initial tumor ablation than tumors with enhancement less than 60 HU. Size 3 cm or greater portends worse 5-year disease-free survival after radio frequency ablation. The degree of enhancement should be considered when counseling patients before radio frequency ablation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-45
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • ablation techniques
  • carcinoma, renal cell
  • image enhancement
  • radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


Dive into the research topics of 'Likelihood of Incomplete Kidney Tumor Ablation with Radio Frequency Energy: Degree of Enhancement Matters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this