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Radiofrequency Ablation Improves Lung Cancer Survival

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NEW YORK MAR 28, 2007 (Reuters Health) - CT-guided lung tumor radiofrequency ablation shows promise in older patients who have refused or who were not candidates for surgery, researchers report in the April issue of Radiology.

"Since many patients in our study had no other treatment options," researcher Dr. Damian E. Dupuy told Reuters Health, "our results show the utility of lung radiofrequency ablation for this group of elderly sick people."

Dr. Dupuy and colleagues at Brown Medical School/Rhode Island Hospital, Providence conducted a retrospective review of 153 patients (mean age, 68.5 years) with 189 primary or metastatic inoperable lung cancers. All underwent percutaneous fluoroscopic CT-guided radiofrequency ablation.

Survival rates for stage I non-small cell lung cancer ranged from 78% at 1 year to 27% at 5 years. Corresponding survival rates for colorectal pulmonary metastasis were 87% and 57%.

For tumors of 3 cm or smaller, local tumor progression-free survival rates were 83% at 1 year and 47% at 5 years. For larger tumors, these rates were significantly less, 45% and 25%.

The overall 30-day mortality rate was 3.9% (six patients). Four of these patients (2.6%) died of procedure-specific causes.

The researchers conclude that lung radiofrequency ablation appears to be safe and linked with promising long-term survival and local tumor progression outcomes, especially given the patient population treated.

"With improvements in lung cancer detection with CT screening looming on the horizon," Dr. Dupuy added, "and improvements in image-guided ablation technology, I strongly believe that ablation may replace surgery in select populations with early stage lung cancer."

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