Breast cancer patients may one day be able to opt for a simple outpatient procedure to freeze their tumors as an alternative to surgery. In a small but promising study, researchers were able to kill breast cancer cells by freezing them using a technique known as image-guided, multiprobe cryotherapy.
All 13 of the women who had the procedure were alive with no clinical evidence of cancer recurrence an average of 18 months, and up to five years, after having the procedure. Their tumors ranged in size from very small to very large.
The study was presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 35th Annual Scientific Meeting in Tampa, Fla. Peter J. Littrup, MD, who pioneered cryotherapy close to two decades ago, says the findings show that even large breast tumors can be successfully treated with the nonsurgical freezing technique.