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Combined Therapy May Treat Lung Cancer

Radiofrequency Ablation and Traditional Radiation Could Help Inoperable Patients

Survival Rates continued...

All of the patients in the study had RFA followed by radiation, usually given within a month.

The overall survival among the patients was 87% at one year, 70% at two years, and 57% at three years. The researchers compared these findings with those from a 1990 study involving patients with similar characteristics treated with radiotherapy alone, in which the overall survival was 57% at one year, 36% at two years, and 21% at three years.

The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

Can't Say It's Better

The experimental combination therapy has not been directly compared with radiation alone in medically inoperable lung cancer patients with localized disease. Until these studies are done, it will be impossible to say that it is better or worse than the current recommended initial treatment, American Cancer Society spokesman Len Lichtenfeld, MD, tells WebMD.

"It is not appropriate for patients or physicians to conclude from this study that RFA and radiation is better than radiation alone, because that is not what they looked at," he says.

Lichtenfeld says RFA is being used more and more to treat various cancers, but it has not been shown to be particularly effective as a single therapy for the treatment of lung cancer.

He calls the combination approach intriguing but adds that it is not clear if treatment outcomes would be as good in patients who were not as carefully selected as those included in the study.

"This is an informative and interesting study, and it certainly demonstrates that this treatment can be effective. It is worthy of further investigation but until a direct comparison is done we can't say that it is better."

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