A procedure that has typically been used as a minimally invasive treatment for liver cancer may hold some promise for those who suffer from lung cancer.
The study, which will be published in the July issue of The Lancet Oncology, 88% of patients who were suffering from lung cancer responded to the percutaneous image-guided radiofrequency ablation (RFA) very well. Radiofrequency ablation takes less than an hour to perform and is a non-surgical procedure that attacks large tumors while doing limited to no harm to the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. After one year of treatment, 70 percent of the patients survived at least a year with extremely limited side effects.
Radiofrequency ablation is preferable to the more standard treatments for a number of reasons. It is less painful and has fewer side effects than the standard treatments, and in many cases it can be performed on patients who are not in good enough health to have the standard treatments performed on them.
As a leading cause of death in both men and women worldwide, lung cancer has been in the crosshairs of cancer researchers for many years. Currently, surgery is the standard treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer, which accounts for around 80 percent of malignant lung tumors. The alternatives to surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, have much lower survival rates than expensive surgery.
The study was conducted in Pisa, Italy at Cisanello University Hospital. It looked at 106 patients who suffered from malignant lung tumors. All of the patients had been found ineligible for surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.
“Our study shows that radiofrequency ablation can be completed successfully in high percentage of patients with small lung tumors. …The safety profile of the procedure was also acceptable, with no mortality or life-threatening complications associated with it. … A randomized controlled trial comparing radiofrequency ablation versus standard treatment options is now warranted to prove the clinical benefit of this approach,” the researchers wrote.
Oncologists have long been interested in RFA as a treatment for mesothelioma patients.