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Cryobiology. 2007 Aug;55(1):44-51. Epub 2007 Jun 2.

Histopathological study of breast cancer and normal breast tissue after magnetic resonance-guided cryotherapy ablation.

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Department of Clinical Pathology, Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland.



Cryotherapy ablation is a minimally invasive procedure being investigated as an alternative to conventional surgery. There are few reports in breast cancer.


Evaluate the histopathology of tumoral and normal breast tissue after cryotherapy.


Eleven patients with clinically <2.0cm and ultrasound visible tumors were studied. Invasive carcinoma was documented by preoperative mammography, magnetic resonance imaging and biopsies. Cryotherapy needles were inserted in the tumor under magnetic resonance guidance and deep freezed with a CRYO-HIT TM System-3. Lumpectomy was performed within 4-5 weeks following cryoablation and submitted for pathological examination including immunostaining of keratins.


The tumoral response after cryoablation was variable. In 4 cases there was no viable invasive carcinoma left and focal DCIS only in 2. In 6 cases, residual invasive carcinoma of various size was present with DCIS inside or outside the cryozone. One case could not be evaluated because the cryozone was adjacent to the tumor due to technical problems. Histologically, the normal breast parenchyma of the cryozone showed dense fibrosis, fat necrosis, xanthogranulomatous reaction, endovascular fibrosis and haemorrhages in all cases. The positive immunostaining of keratins revealed remnants of cytoskeleton of carcinomatous cells in the necrotic areas without any viable tumoral cells on routine stains. Skin ulceration and/or necrosis were observed in five patients.


Cryotherapy allows tumor destruction of variable extent in breast carcinomas <2.0cm in diameter. Immunostaining of keratins is useful to identify cytoskeleton remnants of tumor cells in devitalized areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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