Radiofrequency ablation of lung tumors may extend survival

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health), Jul 25 - Radiofrequency (RF) ablation may improve survival in patients with inoperable lung tumors, French researchers report in the August issue of Radiology.

Previous reports of the efficacy of RF ablation for lung tumors have had short follow-up periods, the authors explain, and this may be inadequate to evaluate the rate of incomplete local RF ablation.

Dr. Thierry de Baere from Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, and colleagues evaluated the local efficacy of RF ablation of lung neoplasms in 60 patients with unresectable primary (nine patients) or metastatic (51 patients) disease.

Six of the tumors increased in size during at least one year of follow-up, the authors report, and the estimated rate of incomplete local treatment at 18 months was 7% per tumor or 12% per patient.

Pneumothorax complicated 40 of the 74 RF ablation sessions, but only 17 cases required aspiration via CT-guided catheter, the results indicate.

Spirometry after the procedure showed no significant changes in FEV1 or vital capacity, the researchers note, and only 10% of procedures were followed by minor hemoptysis that did not require treatment,

Overall survival and lung disease-free survival were 71% and 34%, respectively, at 18 months, the report indicates, and there was no difference between primary and metastatic tumors.

"The overall survival ... and the 93% local efficacy rate at 18 months are very promising," the investigators conclude. "Studies are needed to compare results of RF ablation with those of other techniques, such as surgery, to determine the place of RF ablation in the therapeutic armamentarium."

Last Updated: 2006-07-25 11:02:26 -0400 (Reuters Health)

Radiology 2006;240:587-596.

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