By Amanda Gardner
1 hour, 53 minutes ago
MONDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Needle-delivered frying or freezing
technologies can be useful weapons against both lung and kidney cancers, new
In one study conducted in France, patients with advanced
lung cancer who were not candidates for surgery underwent a procedure known as
radiofr equency ablation (RFA), which basically heats the tumors and kills them.
Seventy percent of the patients with lung metastases or primary
non-small cell lung cancer were still alive after two years -- similar to
results seen after surgery.
Furthermore, 85 percent of patients with
non-small cell primary lung cancer treated with RFA had no viable tumors visible
on imaging one year later, while 77 percent had no viable tumors after two
"It means that you can actually do a very good job of local
control of lung tumors in patients who aren't fit for surgery," said Dr. Damian
Dupuy, a professor of diagnostic imaging at Warren Alpert Medical School at
Brown University and director of tumor ablation at Rhode Island Hospital in
"The medical establishment, being very conservative, has
always said if you aren't fit for surgery you just basically get chemo and
radiation and most of the time [they] don't work well and you die of your tumor.
But even the most unfit for surgery can have this procedure safely," Dupuy said.
The Brown researcher was not involved in the French study, but his group
completed a lung cancer trial last year with similarly good results.
new study, led by Dr. Thierry de Baere of Institute Gustave Roussy, in
Villejuif, France, was to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the
Society for Interventional Radiology in Washington, D.C.
Lung cancer is
the number one cancer killer in the United States and a full 25 percent of
patients who have operable disease can't undergo surgery because of co-existing
conditions, Dupuy noted.
"This is a huge advance for them," he said.
"This procedure is done at almost every hospital that has an interventional
radiologist, which is most. It's like a lung biopsy."
"If you have to stick
a needle in to diagnose lung cancer anyway, why not do it in a single sitting?"
Most patients go home the same day, he noted. According to
Dupuy, the p rocedure may also hold promise for pain relief in patients who are
Two other studies presented at the meeting used the other end of
the temperature spectrum -- cryoablation -- to successfully freeze and kill
kidney cancer tumors.
"This is a minimally invasive, non-surgical cancer
treatment without an incision, explained Dr. Christos S. Georgiades, lead author
of one of the studies and an assistant professor of radiology and surgery at
Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. "You put a probe, which is basically a
needle, into the tumor, freeze the central volume of the tissue with
temperatures close to negative 150 degrees centigrade. The patients don't feel
In Georgiades' study, the procedure was 95 percent effective
for tumors 4 centimeters or smaller and almost 90 percent effective in tumors up
to 7 centimeters in diameter after one year. This was in patients with disease
that had not yet spread beyond the kidney, he noted.
"The technique has been
around for a few years, but we're only now proving that it works," Georgiades
said. "Patients have recovery close to that of surgery and many do not have to
have surgery. Many procedures are done on an outpatient basis."
third study, from the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, looked
at tumors treated with cryoablation whose average size was 2.8 centimeters.
After 1.3 years, most of the tumors still came up on imaging as dead tissue, the
More information For more on these and other procedures, visit the Society of Interventional Radiologists.