Early experience with percutaneous cryoablation of extra-abdominal desmoid tumors

Jennifer L. Kujak, Patrick T. Liu, Geoffrey B. Johnson, Matthew R. Callstrom

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72 Scopus citations


Objective Surgical resection, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are all accepted as standard treatments for extraabdominal desmoid (EAD) tumors, but their effectiveness has been limited by frequent local recurrence. The purpose of this article is to describe our early experiences with using percutaneous cryoablation for local control of extraabdominal desmoid tumors in five patients whose tumors had failed to respond to standard therapy. Material and methods In a retrospective search of our institution's radiology database for patients who had undergone percutaneous cryoablation for treatment of EAD tumors between June 2004 and July 2007, we identified five patients (three female and two male). No patients were excluded from this review. Three of these patients had been referred for cryoablation for local tumor control, and two had been referred for palliation of inoperable tumors. The age range of the patients at the time of cryoablation was 9-41 years. The treated EAD tumors were located in the neck, shoulders and trunk and ranged in size from 3.0 cm to 10.0 cm. Medical records were reviewed for short-term and long-term followup, and patients were contacted for additional follow-up. Patients were asked to rate their pain as absent, mild, moderate or severe, and to compare it with their levels before cryoablation, describing it as improved, unchanged or worsened. Radiology records were reviewed to follow the size of the EAD tumors before and after cryotherapy. Results For the three patients referred for local control of EAD tumors, complete tumor coverage with the ablation zones was achieved. Two of these patients, with masses 3.0 cm and 4.9 cm in diameter, reported complete absence of pain at both short-term and long-term follow-up at 13 months and 49 months. Their tumors had completely resolved on long-term imaging follow-up at 19 months and 43 months. The third patient, with a 6.1 cm mass, reported improved mild pain at 6 months, and imaging showed a moderate decrease of tumor size. For the two patients referred for palliative therapy, initial partial pain relief was felt 2 weeks after the procedure, At long-term (58 months) follow-up of one patient with a 9.1 cm mass, the tumor was still present although reduced in size, and local pain had returned to its former moderate level. In the other patient who underwent only partial treatment of a 10.0 cm mass, at long-term follow-up (36 months) the mass had enlarged and pain had returned to the pretreatment, moderate level. Conclusion Cryoablation appears to be an effective alternative treatment for the achievement of local control of small and moderately sized EAD tumors, but it is likely of limited use in patients with larger tumors that have untreatable regions due to involvement of vital structures. Continued research evaluating cryoablation for the treatment of EAD tumors is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Cryotherapy
  • Desmoid
  • Fibromatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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