New treatment gives lung cancer patients two more years

March 23rd, 2008 - 1:38 pm ICT by admin  

London, March 23 (IANS) A new treatment that kills lung cancer tumours with heat greatly improves “survival time” among patients with inoperable lung tumours, says a new study. The study, by researchers at the Institut Gustave Roussy in France, found that the new interventional treatment - called radiofrequency ablation (RFA) - improved survival time in some patients by over two years.

The study looked at 244 patients, including those suffering from lung metastases (195 patients) and primary non-small cell lung cancer (49 patients), ScienceDaily reported.

Seventy percent of the patients were still alive at two years, including 72 percent for lung metastases and 64 percent for primary lung cancer.

These survival results are similar to surgical results from other studies, but the interventional treatment is less invasive and has far fewer side effects and less recovery time.

The researchers found that RFA often can completely destroy the primary tumour and, therefore, extend a patient’s survival and greatly improve his or her quality of life. Survival thus was dependent on the extent of disease elsewhere in the body.

Of the 49 patients (aged between 27-85) with non-small cell primary lung cancer who were treated with RFA, 85 percent had no viable lung tumours after one year on imaging, and 77 percent had no viable lung tumours after two years.

“About two-thirds of patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer are ineligible for surgery and typically have less than 12 months to live. A subset of these patients ineligible for surgery can be treated with RFA with the intention of curing the primary tumour,” said Thierry de Baere, one of the researchers.

“This new outpatient treatment is effective, allowing us to treat patients who historically have only palliative options, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.”

Radiofrequency energy can be given without affecting a patient’s overall health, and most people can resume their usual activities in a few days.

Lung function is generally better preserved after RFA than after surgical removal of a tumour.

The lung is the most common site for primary cancer worldwide, and smoking tobacco is the leading risk factor.

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