"The MR imaging is helpful and innovative because it has been demonstrated by some investigators to image the malignant prostate cancer better than ultrasound," said Dr. K. Scott Coffield, professor of surgery at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and a urologist-oncologist with Scott & White Healthcare in Temple.
But the technique may not work with very small masses, he cautioned.
Traditionally, cryoablation to treat prostate cancer has been paired with ultrasound, he added.
The breast study involved 13 women who had refused surgery for breast cancer and underwent cryotherapy to eliminate their tumors instead.
Biopsies performed after the procedures were negative, and the women did not need follow-up surgery, according to the study authors, from Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University in Detroit. In other words, they were able to keep their breast.
Again, the investigators used probes inserted through the skin to deliver the cold gas intended to kill the cancer. The probes were guided using ultrasound alone or ultrasound plus computed tomography.
The women were followed up with MRI scans and clinical exams.
"We've had problems with this type of therapy in the past with the kill zone, but now, using multiple probes you can extend that," said Dr. Debra Monticciolo, professor of radiology at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and vice chair of research in radiology and chief of breast imaging at Scott & White in Temple. "That's a smart idea. The concept is good, but we need a bigger study with longer follow-up. It takes a while for a couple of tumor cells left behind to gather enough steam to be noticed," she added.
"This is investigative, but it shows a lot of promise," Monticciolo said.
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