Keeping Cancer Cells Cool: A Look into Cryoablation

How does a tumor form? It's an extremely complex process. Put simply, it's when certain external factors (such as chemicals, physical agents, biological factors, etc.) prompt a mutation in a cell's DNA, causing the body to lose its normal control over its growth, leading to uncontrollable abnormal proliferation, ultimately developing into a tumor harmful to human health. So, how do we calm down this "crazy tumor"? Today, let's talk about Cryoablation, also known as Argon-Helium Knife Cryoablation.
Argon-Helium Knife Cryoablation is a minimally invasive ultra-low temperature tumor ablation technique, belonging to the category of tumor ablation therapy, similar to "microwave ablation."
However, unlike the single heating ablation of microwave ablation, Argon-Helium Knife Cryoablation achieves tumor inactivation through "cold-hot alternation."
What is Argon-Helium Knife Cryoablation?
Argon-Helium Knife Cryoablation technology, with its small trauma, simple operation, and clear ablation boundary, allows doctors to easily judge the boundary of ablation, greatly increasing safety.
However, the Argon-Helium Knife is not a real knife but a special puncture needle.
Argon-Helium Knife Cryoablation uses argon and helium gas to rapidly cool the diseased tissue to destroy cells. Meanwhile, when the tissue rewarms after freezing, the ice crystals formed at low temperatures quickly melt, and water enters the cells in large amounts through the difference in osmotic pressure inside and outside the cells, causing tumor cells to swell, rupture, and undergo secondary damage.
In simple terms, cryoablation creates conditions of extremely low temperature, freezing tumor cells and then dissolving them, thus killing cancerous cells. It also damages tumor microvessels, stopping blood supply and causing further apoptosis and necrosis of the tumor.
What are the advantages of Argon-Helium Knife Cryoablation?
As a minimally invasive treatment, Argon-Helium Knife Cryoablation has minimal damage, less impact on organ function, generally rapid patient recovery, and can significantly shorten hospital stays.
It also possesses the advantages of precise, safe, effective, minimally invasive, repeatable treatment, easy operation, low cost, minimal patient discomfort, and high postoperative quality of life.
It's worth mentioning that Argon-Helium Knife Cryoablation also has an immunomodulatory effect, activating the host's immune system against tumors, enabling it to clear diseased and necrotic cells on its own.
When is Argon-Helium Knife Cryoablation suitable?
Generally, Argon-Helium Knife can be used for the ablation of almost all solid malignant tumors, such as liver cancer, lung cancer, head and neck tumors, breast cancer, pelvic tumors, bone tumors, renal tumors, etc., especially for those unwilling to undergo surgery, elderly patients with poor physical conditions, those who have missed the opportunity for surgery, and those with tumor recurrence and metastasis.
Furthermore, clinically, it has been found that cancer cells after cryoablation are more sensitive to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which is beneficial for enhancing the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and controlling lesions more effectively. Therefore, cryoablation is often combined with radiotherapy and chemotherapy to achieve better therapeutic effects.
Tumor ablation therapy: Microwave ablation or Cryoablation?
The choice of tumor treatment method mainly depends on factors such as tumor type, stage, and pathological type. Take lung cancer as an example; current lung cancer ablation treatments mainly include radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation, and cryoablation.
For tumors with a diameter ≤3 cm, all three ablation methods achieve good therapeutic results, among which radiofrequency ablation is the most mature, with more abundant clinical evidence.
For tumors with a diameter >3 cm, microwave ablation has the advantages of shorter ablation time and broader ablation range.
Cryoablation is suitable for patients with tumors located at least 1 cm away from the pleura or with bone metastasis causing bone destruction. Its formed "iceball" boundary is clear, easy to monitor, and can be applied to lung and liver tumors near adjacent critical organs.
In actual practice, doctors will make optimal choices based on individual patient circumstances.
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