Microwave ablation safe lung cancer treatment, benefits elderly, poor surgical candidates


March 27, 2014 - Microwave ablation can be used safely and effectively in treating primary lung or metastatic (spread from other sites to the lung) cancer, say researchers. The Society of Interventional Radiology’s (SIR) Annual Scientific Meeting is featuring new research on microwave ablation during its scientific sessions at in SIR’s 39th Annual Scientific Meeting, March 22-27, 2014, in San Diego.

In microwave ablation, interventional radiologists use image guidance to place needles through the skin and then heat the tissue around the needles to kill tumor cells. This treatment quickly treats tumors that are otherwise difficult to eradicate, doesn’t require a lengthy hospital stay and it does not harm healthy tissues surrounding tumors. 


Fourteen individuals (3 male, 11 female, ages 64-89), who were not surgical candidates, were initially treated and evaluated to assess success rate, incidence of complications, survival and durability of the treatment. The 30-day survival rate was 100%. The authors noted that at 6 months, the primary tumor response rate was 83% and metastatic tumor response rate was 100%. The use of a small needle instead of major surgery to wipe out a cancerous lung tumor offers an option for a significant number of individuals (including the elderly and those with less tolerance for surgery, chemotherapy and the associated recovery) and allows them more time with family and friends. 


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