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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 152087, 11 pages
Review Article

Radiofrequency Ablation for Early-Stage Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer

Department of Radiology, Okayama University Medical School, 2-5-1 Shikatacho, Okayama 700-8558, Japan

Received 23 March 2014; Accepted 20 May 2014; Published 3 June 2014

Academic Editor: Masanori Inoue

Copyright © 2014 Takao Hiraki et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This review examines studies of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and discusses the role of RFA in treatment of early-stage NSCLC. RFA is usually performed under local anesthesia with computed tomography guidance. RFA-associated mortality, while being rare, can result from pulmonary events. RFA causes pneumothorax in up to 63% of cases, although pneumothorax requiring chest drainage occurs in less than 15% of procedures. Other severe complications are rare. After RFA of stage I NSCLC, 31–42% of patients show local progression. The 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rates after RFA of stage I NSCLC were 78% to 100%, 53% to 86%, 36% to 88%, and 25% to 61%, respectively. The median survival time ranged from 29 to 67 months. The 1-, 2-, and 3-year cancer-specific survival rates after RFA of stage I NSCLC were 89% to 100%, 92% to 93%, and 59% to 88%, respectively. RFA has a higher local failure rate than sublobar resection and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Therefore, RFA may currently be reserved for early-stage NSCLC patients who are unfit for sublobar resection or SBRT. Various technologies are being developed to improve clinical outcomes of RFA for early-stage NSCLC.