High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a promising non-invasive thermal ablation technique.
Unlike diagnostic ultrasound, HIFU focuses the US waves precisely upon a target. In a similar way to how light can be focused to a burning point by a magnifying glass, US passes through the body without any effect but generating lethal heat exactly where they are focused.
HIFU can be guided by MR or US. MR has the advantage of a better anatomical resolution and may provide quantification of temperature around the ablation zone. Ultrasound is the cheapest imaging modality available that provides real-time images using the same form of energy used for treatment. Independently of modality of guide, the advantage of this technique is in its non-invasiveness that means higher patient acceptability and cosmetic outcome guaranteed.
Already established in the treatment of other pathologies (i.e. uterine fibroids), this technique applied to breast tumours in several trials in progress seems to be promising.
- 1. Orsi F, Arnone P, Chen W et-al. High intensity focused ultrasound ablation: a new therapeutic option for solid tumors. J Cancer Res Ther. 6 (4): 414-20. doi:10.4103/0973-1482.77064 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Zhang L, Wang ZB. High-intensity focused ultrasound tumor ablation: review of ten years of clinical experience. Front Med China. 2010;4 (3): 294-302. doi:10.1007/s11684-010-0092-8 - Pubmed citation
- 3. Kim SH, Jung SE, Kim HL et-al. The potential role of dynamic MRI in assessing the effectiveness of high-intensity focused ultrasound ablation of breast cancer. Int J Hyperthermia. 2010;26 (6): 594-603. doi:10.3109/02656736.2010.481275 - Pubmed citation
- 4. Hung BP. The effect of high intensity focused ultrasound ablation of human breast cancer. Surgery. 2010;147 (3): 466-7. doi:10.1016/j.surg.2009.04.018 - Pubmed citation
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