Radiofrequency Ablation of Lung Tumor

Learn about radiofrequency ablation therapy for lung tumor. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive method of treatment that has shown promise in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and pulmonary metastases from both lung and extrapulmonary primary tumors. Most commonly, RFA has been applied when surgical resection was not an option due to advanced age and/or coexistent medical morbidities.

RFA is a technique that involves placement of an electrode into a specific location to cause focal tissue destruction with thermal energy. Tissue heating is achieved through the generation of heat by an alternating electric current in the frequency of radio waves (460-500 kHz).

An insulated radiofrequency (RF) electrode with an exposed conductive tip is connected to an RF generator and is inserted into the targeted tissue under image-guidance. The tip of the RF electrode conducts the electric current, which causes local ionic agitation and subsequent frictional heat in the tissue in a concentrated fashion, thereby creating a controlled zone of coagulation necrosis. A reference electrode (most commonly a large grounding pad) is placed on the patient’s skin in an area of good electrical conductivity (typically the thigh or the opposite chest wall) to complete the electrical circuit.