Radiology and Imaging Sciences

RadioFrequency Ablation Background

Neoplastic disease has traditionally been approached either systemically with chemotherapy, or locally with surgery or radiotherapy. Recent advancements in minimally invasive radiofrequency hyperthermia are adding another tool to the anti-neoplastic arsenal. Thermal ablation has been studied in the form of microwave, laser, high intensity focused ultrasound, and cryotherapy. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has emerged as a safe, easy, and predictable technology for thermal ablation in the bone, lung, liver (see protocol #99-C-0025, "The Use of Radiofrequency Ablation to Treat Hepatic Neoplasms"), kidney (see protocol #99-C-0170, "A Phase II Study to Evaluate Radiofrequency Ablation of Renal Cancer"), prostate, breast, lymph nodes, nerve ganglia, and soft tissue. RFA is also being used to treat pain from soft tissue neoplasms (see protocol #02-CC-0244 "Radiofrequency Ablation of Painful Soft Tissue Neoplasm"). Heat has been used to stop bleeding or to kill tumors for a long time. Until recently, however, this method had limited utility because not enough volume of tissue or tumor could be safely heated. This is why RFA is being combined with other therapies like radiation, chemotherapy, chemoembolization, and heat activated drug delivery (see protocol #04-C-0263 "A Phase 1 Dose Escalation Study of Heat Activated Liposome Delivery of Doxorubicin and Radiofrequency Ablation of Primary and Metastatic Tumors of the Liver"). We are also studying new technologies for tissue destruction and drug delivery such as focused ultrasound, microwave, and cryoablation.

Interventional Radiology Suite of the Future. The image guided oncology suite, the operating room of the future.

Radiology is developing and deploying a unique and novel combination of imaging, therapeutic and navigation technologies which together make up the Multimodality Interventional Radiology Suite of the Future. This suite combines rotational flat detector angiography, multidetector CT, stereotactic automated robotic needle placement, electromagnetic tracking for device navigation, stereotactic ultrasound, stereotactic focused ultrasound, and 4-dimensional visualization on an orb with 100 million voxel display. All technologies and modalities are seamlessly integrated and registered with electromagnetic tracking, computer software, stereotactic mechanical frames, or the common table top transfer mechanism. See links below for more information:

NOTE: PDF documents require the free Adobe Reader.

This page last updated on 05/24/2022

You are now leaving the NIH Clinical Center website.

This external link is provided for your convenience to offer additional information. The NIH Clinical Center is not responsible for the availability, content or accuracy of this external site.

The NIH Clinical Center does not endorse, authorize or guarantee the sponsors, information, products or services described or offered at this external site. You will be subject to the destination site’s privacy policy if you follow this link.

More information about the NIH Clinical Center Privacy and Disclaimer policy is available at