Cryoablation effective in kidney cancer patients

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CHICAGO, Nov. 26—Researchers at the Mayo Clinic revealed that after a review of 62 patients underwent cryoablation to treat cancerous kidney tumors, they are now shown to be cancer-free up for more than two years after the procedure. The research was featured in a presentation Sunday at the 93rd annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Cryoablation, or cryotherapy, applies extreme cold to a tumor using a cryoprobe, which a hollow needle-like device filled with argon gas, and the gas freezes the targeted tumor.

However, at this point, researchers still caution that it should be used only for patients who are not candidates for surgery because follow-up studies are needed before the procedure can be widely used, according to Thomas Atwell, MD, a radiologist at the Mayo Clinic and the study’s primary investigator.

The current general criteria for cryoablation include the size and appearance of the tumor and the number of lesion in the kidney. “This procedure appears to be a good option for some patients,” Atwell said.

In the study, 89 of 91 tumors were effectively treated in a single treatment session, with tumor sizes ranging from 1.5 cm to 7.3 cm. The average size tumor was 3.4 cm. Atwell and his colleagues followed up with evaluations ranging from three months to two and a half years. All 62 patients remain cancer-free to this point, according to the researchers.

The standard treatment for kidney is surgery, which is highly effective. However, the Mayo Clinic researchers contend that the hospital stay and recovery period are longer compared to patients who are treated with cryoablation. Also, the researchers said the incision is considerably smaller as well.