In a nutshell
This study looked how safe and effective it is to use radiofrequency ablation to kill off breast cancer tissue. The authors found that this treatment was very effective for smaller tumors but the effectiveness decreased as tumors increased in size.
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. It is important to research if this procedure is safe and effective to treat tumor cells.
Methods & findings
This study consisted of 386 patients who receive radiofrequecy ablation. NInety percent of patients also had additional therapy alongside the radiofrequency ablation. This included chemotherapy and endocrine therapy. On average, the patients were followed for 50 months after the procedure.
97% of patients with a smaller tumor had no cancer 5 years after treatment. In patients with medium-sized tumors, 94% had no cancer after 5 years, and in patients with larger tumors, 87% had no cancer after 5 years.
There were some side effects seen. A small number of patients had pain in the area where the procedure was performed (2.3%). Some patients had burns on their skin (3.9%) while 1.8% of patients experienced nipple retraction where the nipple goes inwards.
The bottom line
The study concluded that radiofrequency ablation alongside other cancer treatment was very effective and safe for patients with smaller breast tumors.
The fine print
This study was fairly small, and occurred from 2003 to 2009. The way treatment is performed may have been updated since these patients were treated. Also, most of the patients in this study also had endocrine therapy or chemotherapy. It is difficult to know how much of the success of treatment belongs to the radiofrequency ablation, and how much belongs to the other therapies used.
Patients with small tumors who wish to avoid surgery may consider this an option. Speak to your oncologist about this as a potential treatment.
Published By :
Clinical Breast Cancer
Aug 01, 2018
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