Star tumour ablation system offers rapid palliative treatment for radioresistant spinal tumours


Dfine has announced that at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO; 31 May4 June, Chicago, USA), a study showed that its targeted radiofrequency ablation system (t-RFA; Star) was associated with safe and effective pain relief in patients with soft tissue sarcomas—highlighting successful treatment outcomes in radioresistant tumours with the system.

According to a company press release, t-RFA was evaluated in five patients with metastatic leiomyosarcoma or liposarcoma posterior vertebral body spine lesions who had continued progression of lesion size and pain despite previous radiation therapy.

No complications or thermal injury occurred as a result of the t-RFA procedure. Post-ablation MRI demonstrated lesion necrosis within a discrete, predictable ablation zone. No evidence of malignancy by PET or histopathology was noted through 10 months post treatment. In addition, all patients reported post procedural pain relief and did not require systemic therapy be interrupted as is routinely done for radiotherapy.

“Navigational t-RFA proved a safe and effective, non-ionizing palliative therapy alternative for radio-resistant lesions. The ablation zone was very consistent with real time temperature readings permitting highly targeted treatment of lesions within close proximity of the spinal cord, not controlled by systemic or radiation therapy,” said Brian A. Van Tine, assistant professor, Medicine Division of Oncology Section of Medical Oncology at Washington University Siteman Cancer Center, St Louis, USA.

The press release reported that the Star system was developed specifically for metastatic vertebral body tumours and offered physicians the ability to provide pain relief in a single, minimally invasive procedure. Typically an outpatient procedure, t-RFA can be performed through a small incision with sedation and local anaesthesia. A small steerable device enters the vertebra in a minimally invasive manner. The physician can then target precisely where the device’s radiofrequency energy is delivered with the intent to heat and destroy metastatic spinal tumours to alleviate pain.