Radio-frequency ablation (RFA) has been considered as an alternative therapy for liver tumors. A "wet" electrode with interstitial infusion of hypertonic saline was tested for the RFA of liver tumor in rabbits. Seventy-eight liver tumors ( 1.5 to 3.0 cm) were induced in 41 rabbits by VX2 carcinoma implantation. Fifty-one tumors in 27 rabbits were treated with RFA. Under laparotomy, the RF energy was delivered while 5 % saline was infused through the electrode into the tumor at 1 ml/min. Six rabbits with 12 tumors were treated with only intratumoral 5 % saline infusion without RFA. Another 8 rabbits with 15 tumors received sham operation as untreated controls. The efficacy of the therapy was evaluated with survival rate, MRI, microangiography, and histopathology. In the RFA group, 6 rabbits survived longer than 6 months (absolute eradication rate 22.2 %); 12 rabbits were found free of viable tumor at the moment when they were sacrificed (relative eradication rate 44.4 %); 9 rabbits showed local tumor relapse and/or lung metastasis 2-10 weeks after ablation (recurrent rate 33.3 %). In control groups of saline infusion and sham operation, all 14 rabbits died within 3 months (mortality rate 100 %). Three-month survival rates between RFA group and control groups were significantly different (p < 0.05). Findings of MRI, microangiography, and histology supported these outcomes. Radical treatment of liver malignancy in rabbits is possible with the present modified RFA technique. Its clinical usefulness has to be further proven.