Background: Three-dimensional (3D) volumetric ablation margin assessment after thermal ablation of liver tumors using software has been described, but its predictive value on treatment efficacy when accounting for other factors known to correlate ablation site recurrence (ASR) remains unknown.
Purpose: To investigate 3D quantitative ablation margins (3D-QAMs) as an algorithm to predict ASR within 1 year after stereotactic microwave ablation (SMWA) for colorectal liver metastases (CRLM).
Materials and Methods: Sixty-five tumors in 47 patients from a prospective multicenter study of patients undergoing SMWA for CRLM were included in this retrospective 3D-QAM analysis. Using a previously developed algorithm, 3D-QAM defined as the distribution of tumor to ablation surface distances was assessed in co-registered pre- and post-ablation CT scans. The discriminatory power and optimal cutoff values for 3D-QAM were assessed using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Multivariable logistic regression analysis using generalized estimating equations was applied to investigate the impact of various 3D-QAM outputs on 1-year ASR while accounting for other known influencing factors.
Results: Ten of the 65 (15.4%) tumors included for 3D-QAM analysis developed ASR. ROC analyses identified i) 3D-QAM <1 mm for >23% of the tumor surface, ii) 3D-QAM <5 mm for >45%, and iii) the minimal ablation margin (MAM) as the 3D-QAM outputs with optimal discriminatory qualities. The multivariable regression model without 3D-QAM yielded tumor diameter and KRAS mutation as 1-year ASR predictors. When adding 3D-QAM, this factor became the main predictor of 1-year ASR [odds ratio (OR) 21.67 (CI 2.48, 165.21) if defined as >23% <1 mm; OR 0.52 (CI 0.29, 0.95) if defined as MAM].
Conclusions: 3D-QAM allows objectifiable and standardized assessment of tumor coverage by the ablation zone after SMWA. Our data shows that 3D-QAM represents the most important factor predicting ASR within 1 year after SMWA of CRLM.