Cryosurgery for primary breast cancers, its biological impact, and clinical outcomes

  • Masahiro TakadaEmail author
  • Masakazu Toi
Invited Review Article


Recently, a number of new minimally invasive image-guided percutaneous ablation treatments, including cryoablation, radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation, high-intensity focused ultrasound, laser ablation, and irreversible electroporation have been developed. Several studies have shown the feasibility and safety of these cryoablation therapies for the treatment of benign breast tumors and small invasive breast cancer. Although the complete response rate of cryoablation for breast cancer is reported to be relatively good, most studies enrolled a small number of patients, and so reliable conclusions could not be drawn. In this review, we introduce the mechanisms of action of cryoablation, and summarize the current literature on the efficacy and safety of cryoablation for breast cancer. Cryoablation also induces an immunomodulatory effect, which is an interesting topic of research in the era of immune checkpoint inhibitors. Cryoablation for primary tumor may enhance the treatment effect of immune checkpoint inhibitors in patients with breast cancer. Further investigations of this new therapeutic strategy are needed.


Breast neoplasm Ablation techniques Cryosurgery Immunotherapy 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

M. Takada has received honoraria from Chugai, AstraZeneca, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and Eisai; and has received a research Grant from Eisai. M. Toi has no conflict of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Japan Society of Clinical Oncology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Breast SurgeryKyoto University HospitalKyotoJapan

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