Radiofrequency ablation is well tolerated in medically inoperable patients with stage IA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), does not negatively impact pulmonary function tests, and provides a 2-year overall survival rate that is similar to the rate observed after stereotactic body radiotherapy in comparable patients, a new study published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer has shown.

Radiofrequency ablation is a single, minimally invasive procedure in which high frequency alternating current is used to ablate the electrical conduction system of the tumor.

For the study, researchers enrolled 54 patients with medically inoperable stage IA NSCLC. All patients received radiofrequency ablation.

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In the 51 evalubale patients, results showed that the overall survival rate was 86.3% at 1 year and 69.8% at 2 years.

Researchers found that the local tumor recurrence-free rate was 68.9% at 1 year and 59.8% at 2 years. The recurrence-free rate was observed to be worse in those whose tumors were larger than 2 cm.

In regard to safety, no grade 4 or 5 adverse events were related to radiofrequency ablation. In addition, there were no significant changes in pulmonary function tests after radiofrequency ablation compared with baseline.


  1. Dupuy DE, Fernando HC, Hillman S, et al. Radiofrequency ablation of stage IA non-small cell lung cancer in medically inoperable patients: Results from the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group Z4033 (Alliance) trial. Cancer. 2015. [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29507.