TAMPA, Fla. (March 16, 2010)Approximately half of Americans living with colorectal cancer will develop liver metastases at some point during the course of their disease. Radiofrequency ablation, a minimally invasive treatment that applies heat directly in the tumor causing cancer cell death with minimal associated injury to the surrounding healthy liver, contributes to prolongation of their life by nearly three years, note researchers at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 35th Annual Scientific Meeting in Tampa, Fla.
"Patients who have recurrent colon cancer in their liver after surgery can be treated with radiofrequency ablation, or RFA, and avoid repeated liver surgery," said Constantinos T. Sofocleous, M.D., Ph.D., FSIR, an interventional radiologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y. "RFA kills target cancer tissue with heat, while sparing the healthy tissue. This is particularly important for patients who develop new colon cancer in the liver after prior surgery. In general, these patients have a smaller amount of liver tissue; another surgery is usually not possible or very difficult and associated with higher risk," added Sofocleous, an associate professor of radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, N.Y. "This research shows how interventional radiologists can treat patients who have failed a prior surgical treatment. In addition it demonstrates how the combination of all available treatment modalities and the cooperation of medical specialists can improve the outcomes and may prolong patients' lives," he explained.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with almost 150,000 new patients diagnosed each year, said Sofocleous. Approximately half of these patients will develop liver metastases at some point during the course of their disease; the majority of the patients are not candidates for surgery. "In those who undergo surgery, recurrence is a
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Society of Interventional Radiology