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Radiofrequency ablation of lung tumours

DOI: 10.1007/s13244-011-0110-7

Keywords: Radiofrequency,Ablation,Lung neoplasm,Solid tumour

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Pulmonary radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has become an increasingly adopted treatment option for primary and metastatic lung tumours. It is mainly performed in patients with unresectable or medically inoperable lung neoplasms. The immediate technical success rate is over 95%, with a low periprocedural mortality rate and 8–12% major complication rate. Pneumothorax represents the most frequent complication, but requires a chest tube drain in less than 10% of cases. Sustained complete tumour response has been reported in 85–90% of target lesions. Lesion size represents the most important risk factor for local recurrence. Survival data are still scarce, but initial results are very promising. In patients with stage I non-small-cell lung cancer, 1- and 2-year survival rates are within the ranges of 78–95% and 57–84%, respectively, with corresponding cancer-specific survival rates of 92% and 73%. In selected cases, the combination of RFA and radiotherapy could improve these results. In patients with colorectal lung metastasis, initial studies have reported survival data that compare favourably with the results of metastasectomy, with up to a 45% 5-year survival rate. Further studies are needed to understand the potential role of RFA as a palliative treatment in more advanced disease and the possible combination of RFA with other treatment options.


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