Background: The purpose of this preliminary study is to evaluate the feasibility of the excisional ultrasound (US) guided vacuum-assisted breast biopsy (VAE), followed by US-guided Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) in the treatment of unifocal ductal breast carcinomas ≤ 1 cm and estimate the ablation rate analyzing the final histopathological results after subsequent surgical excision.
Methods: In a single session 11 female patients with unifocal less than a centimeter breast cancer underwent 2 different minimally invasive percutaneous US-guided techniques: a VAE breast biopsy with an 8 G needle to remove the lesion and, immediately after, a LITT ablation in the biopsy site. Four weeks later, all patients underwent radiological follow-up. Afterward, a systematic surgery was performed, the ablation rate was calculated, and iconographic and histological features were correlated.
Results: Average maximum diameter of the lesions was 7.6 mm (5-10 mm). No patient reported pain or discomfort during procedure. 1/11 patient (9.1%) reported an early minor complication (a small superficial skin burn). After surgical excision, the histopathological evaluation reported in 10/11 cases (90.9%) complete ablation of the target lesion. In only one case (9.1%) residual cancer was detected. The necrotic-hemorrhagic cavities showed a mean maximum diameter of 27.3 mm (20-35 mm).
Conclusions: Laser ablation performed after excisional biopsy could be considered a valid alternative to surgical excision for the treatment of lesions ≤ 1 cm, if carried out by expert radiologists. The association of these minimally invasive percutaneous methods has proven to be reliable, fast, and safe with an ablation rate of 90.9% and excellent aesthetic results. RM and CESM are potentially able to quantifying treatment results and to follow-up the ablation effects.
Keywords: ablation; breast; excisional biopsy; laser; mini-invasive.