In the course of their disease, mesothelioma patients often experience debilitating pain caused by their growing tumors. Radiofrequency ablation, a protocol that uses electrical energy to kill cancer cells by heating them up, has proven to be one of the most effective treatments available. Now a group of Japanese researchers from the Hyogo College of Medicine in Hyogo, Japan have found that its usefulness may go beyond its previous palliative focus and actually stop the return of malignant pleural mesothelioma tumors.
Radiofrequency ablation is relatively new in mesothelioma treatments, and is quickly becoming one of the more popular treatments for those patients whose tumors are not resectable and that cause pain as they grow. Surgeons have been able to direct heat towards malignant cells without causing damage to the healthy tissue that surrounds it by inserting a small probe into the area where the tumor is located. Though this has been the focus of the protocol, a new report published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery explains the different approach that thoracic surgeons in Japan have taken, using it as part of a multi-modality curative treatment for a 55-year-old male patient. Following chemotherapy, radical surgery and radiation therapy, the patient’s mesothelioma returned after two-and-a-half years, giving physicians few options for additional treatment. According to thoracic surgeon Akifumi Nakamura, MD, “Surgery was considered a problem for the patient because of the previous extrapleural pneumonectomy and difficult tumor location.”
The doctors made the decision to treat the mesothelioma patient using the radiofrequency ablation protocol, because of the advantages of being minimally invasive and having few negative side effects. The results were extremely encouraging: not only did the tumor stop growing, but the procedures seems to have reduced the tumor size. As a result, the study’s authors conclude, “Radiofrequency ablation should be considered an option to treat recurrence of malignant pleural mesothelioma.”
Researchers’ continue to find promising therapies for the treatment of mesothelioma. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with this challenging disease, we can help you find the best of the available resources. Contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.