The Efficacy of Radiofrequency Ablation for Bone Tumors Unsuitable for Radical Excision

Clin Orthop Surg. 2021 Jun;13(2):278-285. doi: 10.4055/cios19179. Epub 2021 May 18.


Background: Bone tumors can cause severe pain and poor quality of life due to recurrence and non-achievement of complete remission after surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) can be considered for minimally invasive treatment of bone tumors that are difficult to radically excise. In this study, RFA was performed for bone tumors that were difficult to radically excise and did not respond to surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy due to their large sizes and/or locations. The purpose of this study was to retrospectively analyze the clinical characteristics and survival rates of bone tumors after RFA and provide one more treatment option for the future.

Methods: There were 43 patients with bone tumors who underwent percutaneous RFA at our hospital from April 2007 to October 2017. The median age of the patients was 59 years (range, 31-75 years), and the median follow-up duration was 67.2 months (range, 10.2-130.5 months). Of the 43 patients, 26 were male and 17 were female. Thirty-four cases were metastatic bone tumors, 5 were chordomas, 3 were osteosarcomas, and 1 was a giant cell tumor. Pain and functional ability of the patients were evaluated using a visual analog scale (VAS) and the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS) functional scoring system, respectively. Scores were recorded preoperatively, 1 week postoperatively, and 4 weeks postoperatively. The 1-year, 2-year, and 5-year survival rates were evaluated using the Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: The mean VAS score was 8.21 preoperatively. The mean VAS score at 1 week, 4 weeks, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks postoperatively were 3.91, 3.67, 3.31, and 3.12, respectively. The mean preoperative MSTS score was 64.0% (range, 32%-87%). The mean postoperative MSTS score was 71.0% (range, 40%-90%). The 1-year, 2-year, and 5-year survival rates were 95.3%, 69.8%, and 30.2%, respectively.

Conclusions: As per our study findings, RFA was effective in reducing pain and improving functional ability of patients with bone tumors that were difficult to radically excise.

Keywords: Bone neoplasms; Radiofrequency ablation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Neoplasms / mortality
  • Bone Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Chordoma / mortality
  • Chordoma / therapy*
  • Female
  • Giant Cell Tumors / mortality
  • Giant Cell Tumors / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteosarcoma / mortality
  • Osteosarcoma / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Radiofrequency Ablation / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires