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A recent study published in the journal Urology has shown that microwave ablation is a feasible alternative to nephrectomy in selected patients with early stage renal cell carcinoma (RCC) tumours that are between 4 to 7 cm in diameter.
In the study, 325 patients with early stage T1b RCC had either percutaneous (through the skin) microwave ablation (40 patients), partial nephrectomy (74 patients) or radical nephrectomy (211 patients). Estimated 5-year local recurrence-free survival was 94.5% for microwave ablation compared with 97.9% for partial nephrectomy and 99.2% for radical nephrectomy. The difference in recurrence-free survival between microwave ablation and radical nephrectomy was significant, but the differences between microwave ablation and partial nephrectomy were not.
This study showed that microwave ablation is a feasible alternative to nephrectomy in selected patients with early stage (T1b) RCC.