Ablation, radiotherapy boost lung cancer patients' survival

Patients with inoperable lung cancer treated with a combination of thermal ablation and radiotherapy were able to add two years to their survival times, according to Brown University Medical School researchers.

Dr. Damian Dupuy, an interventional radiologist at Brown, and colleagues enrolled 41 patients with inoperable stage I/II non-small cell lung cancer tumors who underwent thermal ablation and radiotherapy between 1998 and 2005. The investigators performed 37 radiofrequency and four microwave ablation procedures, followed within 90 days by either external-beam radiotherapy or brachytherapy in 27 and 14 patients, respectively (J Vasc Interv Radiol 2006;17[7]:1117-1124).

None of the patients were expected to live longer than one year, according to the panel of specialists who selected them for the study. The combination therapy, however, prolonged the patients' lives about two years beyond that point.