Thermal Ablation Presents Safe and Effective Alternative for Local Control of Metastatic Gynecologic Tumors

Data examining thermal ablation for women with a total of 119 metastatic gynecologic tumors found the therapy was safe and effective in the local control of these tumors.

Research investigating the treatment of patients with metastatic gynecologic tumors found that using image-guided percutaneous thermal ablation (TA) as an adjunctive therapy was safe and effective in the local control of these tumors located in the lungs, abdomen, and pelvis, according to a study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.1

The research team at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed the precise application of extreme temperatures to a tumor using either ultrasound, CT, or MRI in an outpatient session to treat patients with cancers unresponsive to systemic therapy.2

The trial included 42 women with a median age of 59 years (range, 25–78 years) and a total of 119 metastatic gynecologic tumors. Data from over 2800 ablations from January 2001 to January 2019 were included by radiofrequency (n = 47 tumors), microwave (n = 47), or cryogenic ablations (n = 30). The median follow-up was 10 months for treated patients.

The study data found that 95.6% of patients achieved a complete response after the initial ablation confirmed by CT or MRI. Over a median follow-up of 4.1 months, 8.5% of ablated tumors developed local progression on surveillance imaging.

Repeated treatment was necessary for 5 of the 8 tumors with local recurrence at a mean follow-up of 18 months, with 4 of those 5 tumors achieving a complete eradication after the initial repeated treatment, resulting in an 80% secondary efficacy.

The TA overall technique efficacy was recorded at 96.2% after a median follow-up of 10 months.

“TA was safe and effective for the local control of metastatic [gynecologic] tumors in the lungs, abdomen, and pelvis, with an overall survival rate of 37.5 months and a local progression-free survival rate of 16.5 months, with only 4.8% of treated patients experiencing a major adverse event,” wrote the investigators.

Since metastatic gynecologic cancers typically have aggressive tumors and relatively low survival rates, patients with this disease often require extensive surgeries as a part of the standard treatment procedure. Since invasive surgery is not always feasible for patients, an alternative treatment option that is both safe and effective is necessary.

According to a press release, this study is the first and largest of its kind to show that TA is safe and effective to treat patients with localized metastatic gynecologic cancers throughout the body. This option is particularly interesting for patients with this disease for whom additional surgery is not an option.


1. Yuan F, Wei SH, Konecny GE, et al. Image-guided percutaneous thermal ablation of oligometastatic ovarian and non-ovarian gynecologic tumors. J Vasc Interv Radiol. February 16, 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.jvir.2021.01.270

2. Percutaneous image guided thermal ablation safe, effective therapy for metastatic gynecologic cancers. News release. University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences. March 29, 2021. Accessed April 27, 2021.