Microwave Ablation Synergies with Radiation Therapy

Lung Tumors

Because of poor cardiorespiratory reserve, the majority of patients with primary and secondary lung malignancies are not candidates for surgery.  Conventional treatments for these patients include external-beam radiation therapy, with or without systemic chemotherapy.

However, in many cases, no treatment option is possible.  It’s highly likely that the majority of these untreatable patients will incur at least one of the following complications will manifest itself during the course of the disease: pain, dyspnea, cough, hemoptysis, metastases to the central nervous system or musculoskeletal system, tracheoesophageal fistula, and obstruction of the superior vena cava.

Palliative care therefore should become an important part of treatment to improve the patient’s quality of life.  Since many patients may have disease that is far too advanced for resection, newer alternatives such as percutaneous ethanol injection, embolization of bone tumor vasculature, and lung tumor microwave ablation may be a viable salvage modality, providing, at minimum, symptomatic relief to patients for whom conventional modalities fail.