Radiofrequency ablation of small breast tumours: Evaluation of a novel bipolar cool-tip application

L. Waaijer, D. L. Kreb, M. A. Fernandez Gallardo, P. S N Van Rossum, E. L. Postma, R. Koelemij, P. J. Van Diest, J. H G M Klaessens, A. J. Witkamp, R. Van Hillegersberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Abstract Background Although radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is promising for the local treatment of breast cancer, burns are a frequent complication. The safety and efficacy of a new technique with a bipolar RFA electrode was evaluated. Methods Dosimetry was assessed ex vivo in bovine mammary tissue, applying power settings of 5-15 W with 10-20 min exposure and 3.0-12.0 kJ to a 20-mm active length bipolar internally cooled needle-electrode. Subsequently, in 15 women with invasive breast carcinoma ≤2.0 cm diameter ultrasound-guided RFA was performed followed by immediate resection. Results An ablation zone of 2.5 cm was reached in the ex vivo experiments at 15 W at 9.0 kJ administered energy. Histopathology revealed complete cell death in 10 of 13 patients (77%); in 3 patients partial ablation was due to inaccurate probe positioning. In 1 patient a pneumothorax was caused by the probe placement, treated conservatively. No burns occurred. Conclusions Ultrasound-guided RFA with a bipolar needle-electrode appears to be a safe local treatment technique for invasive breast cancer up to 2 cm. Ways to improve placement of the probe and direct monitoring of the ablation-effect should be the aim of further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3868
Pages (from-to)1222-1229
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Minimally invasive techniques
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)


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