Radiofrequency ablation of lung malignancies: Where do we stand?

Riccardo Lencioni, Laura Crocetti, Roberto Cioni, Alfredo Mussi, Gabriella Fontanini, Marcello Ambrogi, Chiara Franchini, Dania Cioni, Olivia Fanucchi, Raffaello Gemignani, Rubia Baldassarri, Carlo Alberto Angeletti, Carlo Bartolozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Percutaneous radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a minimally invasive technique used to treat solid tumors. Because of its ability to produce large volumes of coagulation necrosis in a controlled fashion, this technique has gained acceptance as a viable therapeutic option for unresectable liver malignancies. Recently, investigation has been focused on the clinical application of RF ablation in the treatment of lung malignancies. In theory, lung tumors are well suited to RF ablation because the surrounding air in adjacent normal parenchyma provides an insulating effect, thus facilitating energy concentration within the tumor tissue. Experimental studies in rabbits have confirmed that lung RF ablation can be safely and effectively performed via a percutaneous, transthoracic approach, and have prompted the start of clinical investigation. Pilot clinical studies have shown that RF ablation enables successful treatment of relatively small lung malignancies with a high rate of complete response and acceptable morbidity, and have suggested that the technique could represent a viable alternate or complementary treatment method for patients with non-small cell lung cancer or lung metastases of favorable histotypes who are not candidates for surgical resection. This article gives an overview of lung RF ablation, discussing experimental animal findings, rationale for clinical application, technique and methodology, clinical results, and complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-590
Number of pages10
JournalCardiovascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Lung neoplasms
  • Lung neoplasms, metastases
  • Lung neoplasms, therapy
  • Radiofrequency ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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