Freezing Destroys Small Tumors

Freezing kidney tumors - using a safe minimally invasive interventional radiology treatment that kills the cancer 100 percent effectively without surgery - should be the gold standard or first treatment option for all individuals with tumors that are 4 centimeters in size or smaller. Moreover, this treatment - interventional cryoablation - is also a viable option for people with larger tumors.

"Interventional cryoablation is as effective as laparoscopic surgery (partial nephrectomy), the current gold standard treatment, and laparoscopic cryoablation surgery for treating renal cell carcinoma," said Christos Georgiades, interventional radiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. "We can eliminate a cancer with a simple outpatient procedure. Eliminating cancer at such an early stage is truly significant news for kidney cancer patients," he added.

It's important that individuals realize all their treatment options - especially since the incidence of kidney cancer has been steadily increasing in this country over the past 30 years, said Georgiades. Approximately 54,000 people are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year - with nearly 13,000 dying from it annually. More than 75 percent of individuals who are diagnosed with kidney cancer have small tumors that are discovered incidentally. "Cryoablation is a great treatment option that doctors should discuss with patients early on," he explained.

Cryoablation is typically performed under light anesthesia by an interventional radiologist who has consulted with the patient's urologist. One or more hollow needles are inserted through the skin directly into a tumor. Interventional radiologists can observe and guide the insertion by combined use of ultrasound and CT. The needle, or cryoprobe, is filled with argon gas, which creates an ice ball, which rapidly freezes the tumor. The tumor is then thawed by replacing the argon with helium. The procedure consists of two freezing and one thawing cycle, seeking a frozen margin beyond the tumor edge to ensure death of the entire tumor. After the cryoprobe is removed, a small bandage is placed over the skin puncture site.

Cryoablation's efficacy rate - the ratio of how many patients' renal cell carcinoma was destroyed completely for localized tumors by size - is 100 percent up to 4 centimeters (about 2 inches) and nearly 100 percent up to 7 centimeters (about 3 inches).

"Patients can have their tumors treated completely, effectively, without surgery, with quicker recovery and mostly on an outpatient basis," Georgiades noted.

COMPAMED.de; Source: Society of Interventional Radiology