Microwave ablation therapy for colorectal liver metastases
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BACKGROUND: The gold standard treatment for colorectal cancer liver metastases (CRCLM) is surgical resection. Unfortunately, the majority of patients with colorectal hepatic metastases are not candidates for resection. In recent years, several alternatives have emerged for patients whom are not resection candidates including modern systemic chemotherapy, targeted biologic treatments, regional therapies and local tumor ablation options. Microwave ablation (MWA) therapy is one such treatment alternative, based on thermal tissue ablation. This modality in concert with the most recent published literature on its use for patients with CRCLM will be reviewed in this paper. LITERATURE REVIEW FINDINGS: A structured review of the literature on ablative technologies was performed. In recent years, there has been an evolution from radiofrequency ablation (RFA) to microwave ablation therapy for the treatment of CRCLM. RFA has several limitations to its use and MWA theoretically avoids such limitations making it the currently preferable treatment option. There are limited publications comparing the use of RFA to MWA and limited publications on the use of microwave ablation for CRCLM. This paper will focus on the most recent data on MWA for CRCLM. This data can then be compared to the already published data on RFA. PROPOSED METHODS: Given the relative novel status for MWA as a treatment option for CRCLM, a potential disadvantage for its use is the perceived lack of knowledge across the medical professional spectrum. In an effort to expand the knowledge of MWA, the proposed outcomes for this study include creating a curriculum to be offered as a CME course focused for Primary Care Providers (PCPs) to provide a basis of clinical familiarity for its use. This effort will familiarize providers who may have patients diagnosed with CRCLM and also allow them to initiate the conversation about this therapy with their patients who may be candidates for this treatment. CONCLUSIONS: MWA therapy is a safe and effective treatment modality for CRCLM. Due to this new development in treating liver lesions originating from colorectal cancer, it’s imperative for providers to become familiar with these new technologies especially considering the high incidence of CRCLM. Therefore, a curriculum for PCPs will allow for a better understanding of this new technology and foster better provider-patient relationships.