Radiofrequency Ablation Effective For Small Kidney Cancers

Radiofrequency ablation appears to be an effective treatment for patients with small kidney cancers.

These results were presented at the 2010 ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

The kidneys are each filled with tiny tubules that clean and filter the blood; this process removes waste and makes urine. Renal cell cancer (RCC) is a malignancy involving these tubules of the kidney.

Small RCC is usually treated with nephron-sparing surgery or, more recently, cryoablation. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is commonly used for the treatment of tumors that are not amenable to surgery in the liver, lung, and elsewhere. The procedure involves the use of a small probe that is inserted into the site of cancer. The physician guides the probe through CT or MRI scans so that the treatment can be contained to the site of cancer, limiting the effect on surrounding tissue. Radio waves flow through the probe to the site of cancer, thereby destroying the cells. RFA typically requires local anesthesia, and affects only the site of cancer without causing side effects to the rest of the body. RFA is currently being evaluated in a variety of tumors in different parts of the body.

The current study included 124 patients with small kidney growths (median tumor size 2.8 cm) treated with RFA. Of 108 pretreatment biopsies, 77 were positive for RCC. Some patients had metastatic RCC; radiofrequency ablation was used to treat the primary lesion.

The one- and three-year local recurrence-free survivals were 99.0% and 94.6%, respectively. There were eight deaths from RCC, but all had metastatic disease at the time of treatment with radiofrequency ablation.

These authors concluded: “RFA of small renal masses is a reasonable option offering good local control for renal primary tumors in selected patients with localized or metastatic RCC.”

Reference: Karam JA, Ahrar K, Jonasch E, et al. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of renal tumors: Clinical, radiographic and pathological results from a tertiary cancer center. 2010 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium; abstract number 316.

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