A new study shows elimination of tumor by freezing it can increase life expectancy of patients suffering from ovarian cancer that has spread to the other parts of the body and cannot be removed surgically.
The process, called cryoablation, uses a small needle through which high pressure liquid nitrogen or argon gas is streamed that triggers rapid ice formation in the tumor cell which eventually kills the tumor.
Results from the study, which were presented at the fourth annual Symposium on Clinical Interventional Oncology (CIO), showed the treatment was effective in killing 98 percent of all tumors in 21 patients whose tumors in the abdomen, liver, lung and bone could not be removed surgically.
The treatment costs an average $26,806 per life year saved, much lesser than the current standard of $100,000, the study authors said.
"This study adds to the evidence that cryoablation is an effective option for patients who can't have surgery," said study author Hyun J Bang, M.D., a radiologist resident at Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center.
Patients, who fail surgical procedures in removing tumor, typically survive from about seven months to two and a half years. The study showed more than three years had transpired from the time of diagnosis to the first cryoablation treatment, meaning these women had already passed their expected survival time, and yet cryoablation was able to extend their survival even further.
Some patients had multiple cryoablation. Major complications, including two deaths, were reported in 7 percent cases. However, the deaths were not attributed to the procedure.
According to latest data, published by the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer accounts for about 3 percent of all cancers among women and about 22,280 new cases of ovarian cancer are expected in the U.S. this year.
"This procedure is often overlooked, but based on the high survival rate, cost effectiveness, consistent local control and safety of the procedure, we should be taking a closer look at cryoablation." Bang added.