Cryoablation Shows Promising Results in the Treatment of Breast Cancer

Date presented at the 2013 Conference of The American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS) shows promising results for non-surgical cryoablation treatment of breast cancer. The results were presented by Eisuke Fukuma, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman and Director of Breast Center, Director of Breast Disease Kameda Medical Center in Kamogawa City, Chiba, Japan.

Cryoablation, also be called percutaneous ablation, cryosurgery or cryotherapy, is often used to treat cancer when surgery is not an option. The technique of using extreme cold to destroy tissue. It has been used for years in medical applications like dermatology, kidney, prostate and liver to treat tumors and to help relieve pain caused by bone metastasis involving different types of cancer. 

Freezing and thawing
During cryoablation, a thin, wand-like device called cryoprobe, is inserted through the skin to reach the cancer where a gas is used to freeze the tissue. Using imaging technology as a guide, radiologists guide the cryoprobes to the precise locations in and around the tumor. Advanced imaging technology allows radiologists to monitor treatment in real time. 

After freezing phase, the tissue is allowed to thaw after which the process may be repeated during the same treatment session.

Generally, cryoablation is directed by a specially trained interventional radiologist working closely with other experts to coordinate the patient's care and, depending on the treatment, may include a medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons, along with other experts.

Avoiding risk
Over the past 6 years, Fukuma and his team have treated 58 breast cancer patients with cryoablation. None of the these patients has had a tumor reoccur or distant metastases. Using this non-surgical treatment, Fukuma's patients avoid the risks and potential cosmetic impact of major breast cancer surgery. The results show that, with further trials validating the trial results, cryoablation may offer significant, minimally-invasive breast health options.

Fukuma and his team have been developing cryoablation under image-guidance as a nonsurgical treatment for small breast cancer since 2006. Twenty of their most recent patients participated in a clinical trials using an IceSense3 Cryoablation system (IceCure Medical). While mainstream cancer treatment still requires significant research, the IceSense3 system, widely available in the US, is used for the treatment of benign breast disease, a procedure usually taking about 10-15 minutes, no pain and virtually no scarring (the procedure does not require sutures). As with a needle biopsy, many women can return to work or their normal activity quickly.

Ongoing trials
To determine if nonsurgical cryoablation is an acceptable treatment for patients with small breast cancer, "we have to study a larger number of patients for a longer time period," Fukuma noted.

Because of the procedural, clinical, and cosmetic results, cryoablation received much attention at the annual conference. Cary Kaufman, M.D., F.A.C.S. noted that the use of cryoablation in breast cancer has potential immunological benefits.

"We are extremely excited with the results presented by Fukuma," noted Hezi Himelfarb, President and CEO of IceCure Medical. "IceSense3 cryoablation system will continue to have major role in Dr. Fukuma's study towards providing less invasive and better cosmetic options for patients."

The IceSense3™ Cryoablation System was designed for efficient and effective treatment of breast tumors. The system has 510k FDA approval for benign and malignant breast disease.

Photo: A physician using the IceSense3 Cryoabaltion System to treat breast disease. Cryoablation is technique of using extreme cold to destroy targeted tissue. The procedure usually takes about 10-15 minutes, without pain and virtually no scarring. Courtesy: IceCure Medical, Inc

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