May 22, 2024
Cryoablation Devices

Cryoablation Devices: An Effective Treatment Option For Various Cancer Types

Introduction

Cryoablation, also known as cryosurgery or cryotherapy, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to destroy unwanted tissue through freezing. In recent years, the use of cryoablation devices has significantly increased for treating various types of cancer as an alternative to traditional surgery. This article discusses the working of cryoablation devices, their effectiveness in treating different cancers, advantages over other therapies, and the future scope of these devices.

How Cryoablation Devices Work

Cryoablation Devices use extreme cold produced by liquid nitrogen or argon gas to freeze and destroy tumor cells. These devices have a thin, hollow metal probe known as a cryoprobe that is guided precisely into the tumor tissue under image guidance like ultrasound or CT/MRI scans. Liquid nitrogen or gas is circulated through the cryoprobe, which cools the tip to temperatures as low as -196°C (-320°F). The extreme freezing temperature causes the cells to burst and die through a process called crystallization. The body’s immune system then flushes out the dead cells. This localized freezing helps treat the tumor without damaging surrounding healthy tissues.

Advantages for Cancer Patients

Cryoablation offers several advantages over open surgery and other conventional treatments for cancer patients:
– Minimally invasive: Only a small incision is required to insert the cryoprobe, resulting in less pain, blood loss, scarring and quick recovery times compared to surgery.
– Preserves organ function: Surrounding healthy tissues are spared during freezing, preserving organ function. For example, it helps preserve kidney function for renal cell carcinoma.
– Repeatable procedure: Cryoablation can be repeated if needed to treat new or recurrent tumors without risk of additional side effects.
– Outpatient treatment: For many cancers, cryoablation can be performed on an outpatient basis without overnight hospital stay.
– Effective for metastatic disease: It effectively treats cancers with metastasis in lungs, liver and bones through multiple cryoprobes used simultaneously.

Types of Cancers Treated

With refinements in technology, cryoablation devices are increasingly used to treat various localized solid tumors:

Prostate Cancer
Cryoablation provides an excellent treatment option for localized prostate cancer with similar success rates as surgery but fewer side effects like erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence compared to radical prostatectomy.

Kidney Cancer
Cryoablation helps nephron-sparing treatment of small renal masses and metastatic lesions to retain maximum kidney function for patients not suitable for partial/radical nephrectomy.

Lung Cancer
Image-guided cryoablation precisely targets and treats early-stage primary or secondary lung tumors with minimal invasiveness compared to lobectomy.

Liver Cancer
For cancers localized to one or a few areas of the liver in patients who are not surgical candidates, cryoablation effectively treats hepatocellular carcinoma and liver metastases.

Breast Cancer
Some studies show the potential of cryoablation for recurrent or new primary breast tumors when lumpectomy or mastectomy is not preferred.

Bone Cancer
Cryoablation provides pain relief and delays tumor progression in metastatic bone lesions better than radiotherapy alone for certain primary bone cancers.

Device Advancements and Future Scope
Ongoing research and innovations are making cryoablation safer and more effective for cancer treatment:
– Newer probe designs enable simultaneous multi-tip treatment of larger tumor volumes in a shorter time with improved outcomes.
– Improved imaging guidance allows real-time monitoring of freezing margins.
– Combination with other treatments like immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiation helps augment antitumor immune response.
– Future applications may include image-guided cryoablation of pancreatic cancer through natural openings.
– Cryo-robotics integration promises precise whole gland treatment for conditions like locally recurrent prostate cancer.

Conclusion

Cryoablation devices offer an important minimally invasive treatment option for cancers where the goal is to effectively destroy localized tumors. Their ability to freeze and kill unwanted tissue while preserving organ function provides several advantages over other common therapies for cancer patients. With continued advances, these devices are expected to play an increasingly significant role in the multidisciplinary management of different cancer types.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it