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Focused Microwave Thermotherapy Reduces Need for Mastectomy


Currently, most women with large breast tumors need a mastectomy for treatment of their cancer. Preoperative focused microwave thermotherapy (FMT) is a promising treatment which could reduce the need for mastectomies by nearly 90%.

Dr. William Dooley, director of surgical oncology at OU Cancer Institute, and colleagues from OU, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, the Comprehensive Breast Center of Florida and St. Joseph's Hospital in California are conducting clinical studies of preoperative FMT for treating invasive carcinomas in the intact breast. The results from early clinical trials have been published online in the journal Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Cancer cells are sensitive to microwave-generated heat. FMT uses a minimally invasive approach to introduce energy into the tumor creating irreversible cell damage.

The current study looked at the effectiveness of preoperative FMT treatment used alone and in combination with preoperative anthracycline-based chemotherapy for breast tumors ranging in ultrasound-measured size from 0.8 to 7.8 cm.

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In a randomized study for patients with early-stage invasive breast cancer, the researchers found of no patients receiving preoperative FMT (0/34) had positive tumor margins, whereas 9.8% of patients (4/41) who had breast conservative surgery (BCS) alone had positive margins.

In a randomized study for patients with large tumors, based on ultrasound measurements, the researchers found the median tumor volume reduction was 88.4% (n = 14) for patients receiving FMT and neoadjuvant chemotherapy, compared with 58.8% (n = 10) reduction in the neoadjuvant chemotherapy-alone arm.

FMT can be safely administered in a preoperative setting. Larger randomized studies are required to verify these conclusions.

Focused Microwave Thermotherapy for Preoperative Treatment of Invasive Breast Cancer: A Review of Clinical Studies; Annals of Surgical Oncology, Online First - December , 2009; William C. Dooley MD, Hernan I. Vargas MD, Alan J. Fenn PhD, Mary Beth Tomaselli MD, Jay K. Harness MD

Randomized Study of Preoperative Focused Microwave Phased Array Thermotherapy for Early-Stage Invasive Breast Cancer; Cancer Therapy Vol 6, 395-408, 2008; William C. Dooley, Hernan I. Vargas, Alan J. Fenn, Mary Beth Tomaselli, Jay K. Harness