May 29, 2024

Minimally Invasive Microwave Ablation Shows Promise as Alternative to Surgery in Treating Thyroid Cancer

According to a recent study published in Radiology, microwave ablation has emerged as a promising alternative to surgical resection for the treatment of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), the most common type of thyroid cancer. The study, conducted at 10 medical centers, found that microwave ablation offered comparable progression-free survival rates and fewer complications compared to traditional surgical methods.

PTC often presents with multifocality, where multiple nodules are found within the thyroid gland. Surgical resection, the standard treatment for multifocal PTC, involves removing part or all of the thyroid gland. However, this procedure can lead to side effects such as scarring, hormonal imbalances, and potential complications like hoarseness or impaired thyroid function.

Microwave ablation is a minimally invasive technique that uses heat to destroy tumors and is currently being investigated as a less invasive alternative to surgery for some patients. This study, the first of its kind to compare microwave ablation with surgical resection for multifocal PTC, challenges conventional treatment approaches and may offer new options for patients.

The research involved 775 patients with ultrasound-detected multifocal Stage I PTC who underwent either microwave ablation or surgery between May 2015 and December 2021. Propensity score matching was used to compare the outcomes of the two groups, ensuring a more accurate assessment of the treatment effect.

After matching, the study found that microwave ablation was associated with similar progression-free survival rates as surgery but with fewer complications and a better chance of preserving thyroid function. Patients who underwent microwave ablation experienced less blood loss, shorter incision lengths, and reduced hospital stay durations compared to those who underwent surgical resection.

The findings suggest that microwave ablation may offer a promising treatment option for multifocal papillary thyroid cancer, with fewer complications and improved quality of life for patients. While surgical resection typically includes preventative lymph node removal, microwave ablation demonstrated comparable survival rates without this additional step, indicating its efficacy as a standalone treatment option.

Dr. Ming-An Yu, the senior author of the study and director of interventional medicine at China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing, emphasized that microwave ablation represents a significant advancement in the field of interventional thyroid cancer treatment. The study’s results offer new possibilities for less invasive management strategies and highlight the potential of microwave ablation as a viable alternative to surgery for select patients with PTC

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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