Cryotechnology is currently used for both treatment and diagnosis of breast disease. Due to the natural analgesic effect of cold, cryoablation is potentially more patient-friendly than other technologies which raise tissue temperature. Freezing produces a predictable volume of necrosis and is easily observed and controlled during treatment. Recent studies have demonstrated that, as a primary therapy for breast fibroadenoma, cryoablation is safe and effective with durable results that can be reproduced in community practices. Certain barriers do exist before cryoablation, or any other in situ ablation, can become a standard therapy for the treatment of localized breast malignancy. Investigations are underway to refine patient selection criteria and develop valid confirmatory assays so that clinical trials can begin. Cryolocalization, which creates a well-delineated, palpable mass of frozen tissue encompassing a tumor, is a relatively new application of cold in medicine. This strategy promises to reduce positive margin rates during lumpectomy of non- or barely-palpable tumors. Finally, cryotechnology now also aids in the collection of tissue for histological analysis.
(c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.