By Radio Waves
lumpectomy procedure is being developed at UC Davis Cancer Center.
Instead of cutting out a tumor, the experimental technique uses
radio wave energy to kill cancer cells in the breast.
it is experimental in breast cancer treatments, the technique is
not new. Radio wave therapy, or radiofrequency
ablation, has been used for years in the treatment of liver
and bone cancers. Researchers are also studying the therapy as a
treatment for lung and prostate cancers.
waves can do more than make pretty graphs
wave therapy has shown favorable results in trials with breast cancer
patients at Stanford University, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson
Cancer Center in Houston, and the Weill Cornell Breast Center in
published in the July, 2001, issue of Radiology, reported
on 24 breast cancer patients with liver metastases who were treated
with radio frequency ablation. Single lesions were treated in 16
patients, and multiple lesions were treated in 8 patients. Complete
necrosis was achieved in 92% of the liver lesions. New metastases
developed in 58 per cent of the patients during follow-up. The remaining
42% of patients developed no new metastases.
Khatri, assistant professor of surgery at UC Davis Cancer Center,
John McGahan, professor of radiology, and Bijan Bijan, assistant
professor of radiology, are leading a pilot study to evaluate the
technique's effectiveness in Stage 1 breast cancer tumors. The investigators
are ready to enroll about 30 Sacramento-area women with very small,
early stage breast tumors in the study.
perform radiofrequency ablation, doctors first locate the tumor
using ultrasound. Next a thin metal probe is introduced into the
tumor through the skin. Tiny wires at the tip of the probe vibrate,
generating a frictional heat that kills all of the cells touched
by the probe. Patients walk away after the procedure with only a
tiny cut visible on the skin. The dead cancer cells from the tumor
eventually form a scar inside the breast.
the technique is experimental, all of the women will undergo a conventional
lumpectomy or mastectomy following the radio wave treatment. After
this conventional surgery, researchers will carefully examine the
excised breast tissue to confirm that all cancer was eradicated
by the radio wave treatment.
the pilot trial finds radio wave treatment to be effective in killing
the tumor cells, the technique could offer advantages over lumpectomy.
"There are two potential advantages of the new technique,"
Khatri said. "First, you don't have to make a big incision.
Second, you kill only the tumor and a very thin layer of tissue
surrounding it. In a lumpectomy, you take out much more tissue.
So the cosmetic results should be much better."
McGahan and Bijan received a $90,000 grant from the UC Davis Health
System to carry out the study.
breast cancer research currently underway at UC Davis Cancer Center
trial of a minimally invasive probe that uses light and electrical
current to immediately assess malignancy in suspicious breast lesions,
potentially eliminating the need for biopsy;
digital mammography trial, comparing the accuracy of digital to
standard film mammography;
a sentinel node biopsy study that explores the safety and effectiveness
of removing only one lymph node for biopsy in women with breast
cancer. Standard practice has been to remove a dozen or more lymph
nodes to determine if cancer has spread.
Davis Cancer Center, a program of the University of California,
Davis, is a nationally recognized research and treatment center
at the front line of the war against cancer. With more than 209
scientists engaged in cancer research and treatment and more than
$32 million in cancer research funding, the center is able to offer
patients the most advanced therapies--and consequently the greatest
hope for recovery.
UC Davis Press Release, March 2002
on the Web:
Cancer Ablation Center
Invasive Ablation Techniques in Breast Cancer Treatment
ablation of breast cancer