Radiofrequency ablation of the lumpectomy site during breast cancer
surgery can provide an effective alternative to post-operative external
radiation therapy (XRT) and reduce repeat surgeries to achieve clear
tumor margins, according to one of the first published long-term studies
to examine this new treatment protocol. Researchers reported this week
at the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS) Annual Meeting that
utilizing radiofrequency-generated heat to create an added disease-free
zone around the tumor cavity is at least as effective in preventing
local tumor recurrence as XRT following surgery. In many cases, ablation
also extended the disease-free zone sufficiently to eliminate the need
for repeat surgery to correct inadequate disease-free tumor margins
identified in post-operative pathology examination.
"Radiation has a range of difficult side effects, including shrinkage of
breast tissue, loss of sensation and damage to nearby healthy tissue,"
comments lead study author V. Suzanne Klimberg, MD, FACS, Muriel Balsam
Chair in Surgical Oncology and Professor of Surgery and Pathology at the
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Director of the Breast
Cancer Program at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Institute of the
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and President-Elect of the
ASBrS. "Additionally, for patients in rural areas in the US and around
the world, XRT—the standard of care following lumpectomy surgery—simply
isn't an option if a therapy center is not located nearby. Today, these
patients have no choice but mastectomy."
In the study, 60 patients with invasive cancer underwent tumor excision
(lumpectomy surgery) followed by radiofrequency ablation (eRFA) at 100
degrees C for 15 minutes with a real-time radiofrequency probe to extend
the radius of the lumpectomy cavity by 1 cm. None of the patients
received adjunctive XRT.