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RFA provides increased quality of life in cancer patients 

03-22-2021 02:19 PM

A closer look at the OPuS One Abstract of the Year

SIR Today 2021| March 24, 2021

On Wednesday, March 24, at 11 a.m., Jason R. Levy, MD, will present “Radiofrequency ablation for the palliative treatment of osseous metastases: Final results from a multicenter study (OPuS One).” The abstract, which is one of SIR 2021’s Abstracts of the Year, presents the findings of a 3-year study on the efficacy of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) as a palliative treatment to provide pain relief in cancer patients with metastatic bone lesions.

The study indicates that RFA offers a fast-acting and durable alternative to traditional radiation therapies. The study showed that RFA therapy provided reduction in pain in as little as 3 days, with effects of lasting more than 12 months, as opposed to traditional radiation treatments, which can take several weeks to become effective.

“A few weeks represents a large portion of the remaining life in these patients,” said Dr. Levy, the lead researcher on the study. “RFA may be able to give them the best quality of life possible in the time they have left.”

Researchers enrolled 218 cancer patients at 15 sites, who presented with breast, lung and kidney cancers and lytic metastasis. The 59 patients who opted to complete the EurolQol measurement reported improvement over the course of 12 months, and similar improvement was seen in the 14 patients who completed the EORTC QOL. Follow-up was made difficult because of the palliative nature of the study; over 80 patients dropped from the study due to procedure-unrelated death. Results showed that patients not only saw decreased pain but as a result had better quality-of-life metrics, such as physical and emotional functioning.

“Many IRs who conduct bone ablation and cancer treatments feel that our therapies are significantly underutilized,” said Dr. Levy. However, according to Dr. Levy, one unique characteristic of the study is that, as a result of the IR procedure, researchers found no delayed skeletal events—which are almost guaranteed during radiation therapy. Dr. Levy attributes this to the fact that 97% of the study’s patients received a cement injection post-ablation, much like kyphoplasty. “RFA treats some of the underlying tumor, some of the pain receptors and the biologic portions,” Dr. Levy said. “The cement may play a role in pain treatment but, more importantly, it mechanically stabilizes to prevent fracture.”

However, Dr. Levy warned that while RFA’s effectiveness is measured against traditional radiation therapies, physicians should not view the treatments as one or the other. “The two treatments can work together. Certainly, there are many cases where RFA should be done before radiation, but it does not have to be a mutually exclusive.”

Dr. Levy hopes that the results of the study will showcase the effectiveness not only of RFA but of the role of IRs in cancer therapy. “We believe this treatment should be available to more patients with metastatic cancer earlier in their treatment path.”

Related resources

Registrants can view Dr. Levy’s presentation live on or via the Digital Video Library.

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