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Surg Technol Int. 2019 May 15;34:359-364.

Percutaneous Thermal Ablation for Lung Cancer: An Update.

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Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI.


Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and accounts for more deaths than breast, colon, and prostate cancer combined. Over the past decade, percutaneous thermal ablative therapy (PTA) has become a useful adjunctive therapy in combination with longer-standing methods, or as a standalone treatment. The physiologic basis of thermal ablation is that coagulative necrosis and cell death occur at temperatures above 60°C. During treatment, PTA of lung tumors routinely achieves temperatures above 70°C. Radiofrequency ablation has fallen out of favor in recent years as microwave ablation has been proven to be effective, with shorter treatment times. Pulmonary PTA is a routine outpatient procedure in which conscious sedation is used in lieu of general anesthesia. The first post-procedural follow-up imaging is CT at 4 weeks, coinciding with an office visit. In our most recent review of long-term results, which included 108 patients, all-cause survival at 1, 2, and 3 years was 83%, 59%, and 43%, respectively. When we specifically considered cancer-related survival, these numbers increased to 94%, 79%, and 57%. Percutaneous thermal ablation has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for patients with early-stage NSCLC who are not candidates for surgery, as well as a potential treatment for local small cell lung cancers. As the field of oncology, and specifically the treatment of lung cancer, continues to evolve, PTA will represent a useful tool in the arsenal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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