Largest study to date finds radiofrequency ablation is best treatment for benign bone tumor

OAK BROOK, Ill. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) should be the treatment of choice for the majority of patients suffering with a benign but painful bone tumor known as osteoid osteoma, according to research published in the October issue of Radiology.

The study, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, is the first large-scale research that shows RFA to be preferable to open surgery as the primary treatment for this type of bone tumor.

"This study is significant because it proves that surgery is not necessary for the treatment of osteoid osteoma in most patients," said the study's lead author, Daniel Rosenthal, M.D., professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Osteoid osteomas represent about 10 percent of benign bone tumors. They are most commonly found in children and young adults and are often difficult to diagnose. Although such tumors rarely exceed 1.5 cm in diameter (a little over half an inch) and have little or no growth potential, they can cause severe pain.

"Our average patient is 17 years old, and three out of four patients are male," Dr. Rosenthal said. "These individuals tradionally are unable to participate in any sport or recreational activity and many require round-the-clock medication."

Minimally invasive therapies such as RFA have been explored as an alternative to the two traditional treatments for osteoid osteoma: surgery and management through anti-inflammatory medication.

When treated operatively, the tumor can be difficult to identify, and incomplete removal may lead to recurrence. Cutting out a tumor from a weight-bearing bone may also involve a prolonged recuperation. Long-term use of anti-inflammatory medications is unappealing to many patients because of negative side effects.

Interventional radiologists perform RFA by inserting a CT-guided wire to the tumor site and transmitting an electrical current to destroy the lesion. Following the two-hour procedu

Contact: Maureen Morley
Radiological Society of North America

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