Computerized tomography-guided microwave ablation of patients with stage i non-small cell lung cancers: A single-institution retrospective study

Michael Nance*, Zain Khazi, Jussuf Kaifi, Diego Avella, Mohammed Alnijoumi, Ryan Davis, Ambarish Bhat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objectives: The objective of the study was to retrospectively investigate the safety and efficacy of computerized tomography-guided microwave ablation (MWA) in the treatment of Stage I non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). Material and Methods: This retrospective, single-center study evaluated 21 patients (10 males and 11 females; mean age 73.8 ± 8.2 years) with Stage I peripheral NSCLCs treated with MWA between 2010 and 2020. All patients were surveyed for metastatic disease. Clinical success was defined as absence of FDG avidity on follow-up imaging. Tumor growth within 5 mm of the original ablated territory was defined as local recurrence. Welch t-test and Fisher's exact test were used for univariate analysis. Hazard ratio (HR) and odds ratio (OR) were determined using Cox regression and Firth logistic regression. Significance was P < 0.05. Data are expressed as mean ± standard deviation. Results: Ablated tumors had longest dimension 17.4 ± 5.4 mm and depth 19.7 ± 15.1 mm from the pleural surface. Median follow-up was 20 months (range, 0.6-56 months). Mean overall survival (OS) following lung cancer diagnosis or MWA was 26.2 ± 15.4 months (range, 5-56 months) and 23.7 ± 15.1 months (range, 3-55 months). OS at 1, 2, and 5 years was 67.6%, 61.8%, and 45.7%, respectively. Progression-free survival (PFS) was 19.1 ± 16.2 months (range, 1-55 months). PFS at 1, 2, and 5 years was 44.5%, 32.9%, and 32.9%, respectively. Technical success was 100%, while clinical success was observed in 95.2% (20/21) of patients. One patient had local residual disease following MWA and was treated with chemotherapy. Local control was 90% with recurrence in two patients following ablation. Six patients (28.6%) experienced post-ablation complications, with pneumothorax being the most common event (23.8% of patients). Female gender was associated with 90% reduction in risk of death (HR 0.1, P = 0.014). Tumor longest dimension was associated with a 10% increase in risk of death (P = 0.197). Several comorbidities were associated with increased hazard. Univariate analysis revealed pre-ablation forced vital capacity trended higher among survivors (84.7 ± 15.2% vs. 73 ± 21.6%, P = 0.093). Adjusted for age and sex, adenocarcinoma, and neuroendocrine histology trended toward improved OS (OR: 0.13, 0.13) and PFS (OR: 0.88, 0.37) compared to squamous cell carcinoma. Conclusion: MWA provides a safe and effective alternative to stereotactic brachytherapy resulting in promising OS and PFS in patients with Stage I peripheral NSCLC. Larger sample sizes are needed to further define the effects of underlying comorbidities and tumor biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalJournal of Clinical Imaging Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Computerized tomography-guided
  • Early-stage lung cancer
  • Microwave ablation
  • Non-small cell lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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