Breast cancer | Cryoablation was first introduced in Quebec at CHUM

Breast cancer |  Cryoablation was first introduced in Quebec at CHUM

Some patients with breast cancer now have the option of being treated with cryoablation, thanks to a new technique that the Montreal University Hospital Center is the first of its kind in Quebec to offer.


Cryoablation literally involves “freezing” the cancerous tumor using a very fine needle. The procedure, which is performed under local anesthesia, leaves almost no scars and the patient is usually discharged the same day.

“Over the past few years, we have really moved toward more personalized treatments that are more tailored to each patient, while reducing the frequency of treatment,” said Dr. Matthew Seidler, chief of breast imaging in the Department of Radiology at CHUM. to divide.

“We know that some patients with small tumors can benefit from a less aggressive approach, with local treatment. Cryoablation for breast cancer is a real alternative to the surgical approach and is a very promising technique.”

Often, surgical removal of the tumor remains the best option for breast cancer. But for patients for whom this is not possible – for example, because they have other health problems or are undergoing other treatments – cryoablation now offers a new treatment method.

This technology is relatively new, but the data currently available is interesting to say the least.

Thus, in a study of sixty patients, only 10% of participants experienced a relapse after sixteen months of treatment. In another study, which included 194 patients, only four – or 2.1% – experienced a relapse after three years.

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“We know that rapid freezing at -40°C, and then thawing cycles, triggers a kind of cell death cascade that is very effective,” Dr. Seidler explained.

He added that the cold not only causes cancer cells to die, but also causes the expression of tumor antigens that the human body then recognizes, “and this causes an inflammatory response by our immune system. This is another mechanism,” Dr. Seidler said.

He added that cryoablation works best with small tumors that are less than 1.5 cm in size, as well as with tumors that contain hormone receptors or are of a lower grade.

But Dr. Seidler stresses that cryoablation doesn't just have advantages. For example, during surgical resection, the removed tissue can be analyzed in depth by the pathology department, allowing careful characterization of the disease. Obviously this is not possible during cryoablation.

The specialist said that this technology is “very well received by patients” at the present time.

“(They) leave a few hours after the procedure,” Dr. Seidler recalls. There is practically no pain, with local anesthesia and also with cold, which helps with anesthesia. You have to choose the right patients, but it's always good to have different options you can discuss with them. »

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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