Radiofrequency Ablation of Breast Cancer

Singletary, S. Eva
January 2003
American Surgeon;Jan2003, Vol. 69 Issue 1, p37
Academic Journal
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is currently under study as a candidate for nonsurgical removal or destruction of breast tumors. RFA of solid tumors is produced by frictional heating caused when ions in the tissue attempt to follow the changing directions of a high-frequency alternating current. The radiofrequency probe is typically placed into the tumor under ultrasound guidance, and the ablation is performed with real-time ultrasound monitoring. Preliminary studies in which RFA was followed by standard surgical resection have indicated that this technique is effective for the surgical ablation of small (≤2 cm) primary breast tumors. A new study at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center will use RFA as the sole local treatment of breast tumors ≤=1.5 cm in size to determine whether this technique is oncologically and cosmetically appropriate for the local treatment of primary breast cancer. Twenty patients with small tumors that are clearly identifiable and measurable by ultrasound will be enrolled in the study. Local control will be assessed by core and fine-needle biopsies, and long-term outcomes will be assessed using imaging studies and quality-of-life measurement scales for 5 years after treatment.


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