Radiofrequency Ablation Benefits Lung Cancer Patients

Can yield sustained complete responses in some patients

THURSDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Radiofrequency ablation, an accepted treatment for non-surgical liver cancers, can yield sustained complete responses in patients with primary and metastatic lung tumors, according to an article published online June 18 in The Lancet Oncology.

Riccardo Lencioni, M.D., from the University of Pisa in Italy, and colleagues treated 106 patients with 183 lung tumors (non-small-cell or metastases, 3.5 cm or less in diameter) with radiofrequency ablation. Patients were considered unfit or unsuitable for surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

The researchers found that 88 percent of 85 assessable patients had a complete response that lasted at least one year. Overall survival was 70 to 92 percent at one year and 48 to 66 percent at two years, depending on tumor type. Cancer-specific survival was 91 to 93 percent at one year and 67 to 73 percent at two years, depending on tumor type. There were no procedure-related deaths, and the device could be correctly placed in 99 percent of patients, the report indicates. Major complications included pneumothorax or pleural effusion that required drainage. Pulmonary function did not significantly worsen.

"Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation yields high proportions of sustained complete responses in properly selected patients with pulmonary malignancies, and is associated with acceptable morbidity," Lencioni and colleagues conclude.

The study received funding from Angiodynamics in Queensbury, N.Y.

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