Radiofrequency ablation in patients with primary breast carcinoma: A pilot study in 26 patients

Francesco Izzo, Renato Thomas, Paolo Delrio, Massimo Rinaldo, Paolo Vallone, Anna Dechiara, Gerardo Botti, Giuseppe D'Aiuto, Pina Cortino, Steven A. Curley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND. The authors performed a pilot trial of ultrasound-guided percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in patients with T1 and T2 breast tumors 1) to confirm complete coagulative necrosis of tumor tissue and 2) to determine the safety and complications related to this treatment. METHODS. Twenty-six patients with biopsy-proven, invasive breast carcinoma underwent RFA of their breast tumors followed by immediate resection. Treatment was planned to ablate the tumor and a 5 mm margin of surrounding breast tissue. Tumor viability after RFA was assessed by hematoxylin and eosin and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide vital staining. RESULTS. Twenty patients (77%) had T1 tumors, and six patients (23%) had T2 tumors. The mean greatest dimension of tumors that were treated with RFA was 1.8 cm (range, 0.7-3.0 cm). The mean treatment time for two-phase RFA treatment was 15 minutes and 23 seconds (range, from 6 minutes and 25 seconds to 24 minutes and 54 seconds). Coagulation necrosis of the tumor was complete in 25 of 26 patients (96%): One patient had a microscopic focus of viable tissue adjacent to the needle shaft site. A single patient (1 of 26 patients; 4%) had a complication related to RFA: a full thickness burn of the skin overlying a tumor that was immediately beneath the skin. CONCLUSIONS. This pilot experience with RFA in the treatment of patients with early-stage, primary breast carcinoma revealed that 1) coagulative necrosis of the entire tumor occurred in 96% of the patients, and 2) the treatment was safe, with only a 4% complication rate. The authors have initiated a trial of RFA alone (no resection) for patients with T1 and T2 breast tumors that will include sentinel lymph node mapping and postablation irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2036-2044
Number of pages9
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2001


  • Invasive breast carcinoma
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Thermal ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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