Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Can Cryoablation ‘Freeze Out’ Low-Risk Breast Cancers?

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2019

Preliminary results of a study analyzing cryoablation to treat early-stage breast cancer indicate that the technique is safe and effective, with just 1 in 180 women experiencing recurrence so far, for a 99.4% success rate. According to Kenneth R. Tomkovich, MD, of CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, New Jersey, and colleagues, cryoablation may prove to be an alternative to surgical lumpectomy is patients with small, low-risk breast tumors. These findings from the Ice 3 trial were reported at the 2018 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting (Abstract SSM01-01).

“We’re finding smaller and smaller breast cancers,” said Dr. Tomkovich in an RSNA news release, but surgeons and radiologists are largely “still treating them the same way we did 30 years ago.” The Ice 3 trial, which has been underway for 4 years in 18 U.S. centers, is assessing the use of cryoablation to treat women 60 years and older who have low-risk breast cancers. Thus far, no serious adverse events have been reported. Researchers have 3-year and 2-year follow-up data on about 20 and 75 patients, respectively. Final study results will be published when 5-year data are available for all treated women.

Cryoablation has a history of successful use in treating some kidney and lung cancers. Not only does cryoablation kill cancer cells outright, but mouse studies offer preliminary evidence that it may stimulate immune-system responses against malignancies. “If it’s proven that cryoablation works, then some women might be more inclined to opt for it over surgery,” Dr. Tomkovich said.

Disclosure: Dr. Tomkovich is a consultant for Scion Medical Technologies, LLC, and is on the Scientific Advisory Board for IceCure Medical, Inc.

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