In a nutshell
This study investigated how safe radiofrequency ablation combined with surgery is in comparison to lumpectomy as a treatment for breast cancer. The study found that there was a higher likelihood of having no cancer left in the breast with radiofrequency ablation and surgery compared to lumpectomy.
Radiofrequency ablation is a medical procedure where pieces of tissue are removed using the heat that is produced from an electrical current. It is a minimally invasive procedure. It involves electrodes being inserted under the skin and into the tumor. A current is then passed through the electrodes which generates heat and kills the tumor cells. A lumpectomy is a medical procedure where a portion of the breast with the tumor in it is removed through surgery. It is more invasive than radiofrequency ablation. A test for how well the treatment has worked is if there are any tumor cells left in the breast after treatment. If there are any left, it is called having positive margins. It is important to research if these procedures are safe and effective to treat tumor cells.
Methods & findings
This study consisted of 40 patients. Half of these had lumpectomy, and the other half had radiofrequency ablation alongside surgery to remove the tumor.
Eleven of the 20 patients who had lumpectomy had positive margins (55%). This means that 55% of the patients had residual tumor left in the breast after treatment. Of twenty patients in the radiofrequency ablation group, only four had positive margins (20%). A minor side effect seen in the radiofrequency ablation group was inflammation of the breast, which was seen in 40% of patients compared to 5% in the lumpectomy group. Another side effect seen in the radiofrequency ablation group was local infection. There were three patients who developed local infection in the radiofrequency ablation group compared to none in the lumpectomy group.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that radiofrequency ablation in combination with surgery was safer and more effective than lumpectomy in the treatment of breast cancer.
The fine print
This study is very small. A larger study should take place to determine if these results are valid.
Discuss with your oncologist if this treatment might be a possibility for you.
Published By :
Aug 21, 2018
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