Heating away a tumor in the kidney appears to be a promising treatment, according to a new study. Radio frequency ablation is done by placing a special needle into the tumor. A current is then passed through the electrode to heat the tumor tissue and ablate, or eliminate, it. The research finds patients not only respond to the treatment but also do not appear to have any serious complications.
For the past 50 years, the standard of care for kidney cancer has been removal of the kidney. Recently, partial removal has also been used successfully in some patients. But surgery is not ideal for all patients. Researchers evaluated 22 patients who had this treatment. They report complete tumor ablation was achieved in 83 percent of the patients with just one treatment. An additional 8 percent of the patients had complete tumor ablation after two or more treatments and none of the patients were found to have any serious side effects.
Researchers say the smaller the tumor the easier it is to eliminate with this procedure. While long-term studies still need to be done, researchers feel that radiofrequency ablation could prove to be a useful treatment for patients who are not ideal surgical candidates.