Why I Perform Cryoablation
I started performing cryoablation of benign breast tumors (fibroadenomas) in 2002, not because I was interested in treatment of fibroadenomas, but because I had the foresight that cryoablation would one-day become an important treatment option for patients with breast cancer, and I wanted to lead the effort.
To develop my skills and to educate junior surgeons, in 2004, I started a minimally-invasive breast biopsy clinic at the Los Angeles County U.S.C. Medical Center to provide patients a treatment option for fibroadenomas and to teach breast surgeon trainees cryoablation procedures and other minimally-invasive breast biopsy procedures. In 2009, I traveled to Japan to study with Dr. Eisuke Fukuma (see image) of Kamogawa Medical Center who had already begun treating breast cancers with cryoablation.
Later that same year, I became a principal investigator in the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group’s Z1072 cryoablation-followed-by-surgical removal feasibility trial which later found cryoablation to be highly effective at ablating small breast cancers. When the Z1072 trial closed in 2016, I launched an investigator-initiated, multi-center cryoablation-without-surgical removal trial, which I named the FROST (Freezing without Resection Of Small Tumors) Trial, an ongoing clinical trial which thus far shows cryoablation to be an effective alternative to surgery for stage I breast cancer.
Although the ACOSOG and FROST Trials were exclusive to women with stage I invasive breast cancer under < 2 cm, along the way I developed extensive experience treating women with larger or higher stage invasive breast cancer as well as non-invasive breast cancer called Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). Some of these patients require multiple ablations performed in the same visit to complete the cryoablation procedure. Most of these patients are treated outside of the clinical trial.
You can read more about my philosophy regarding cryoablation for different stages of breast cancer by reading the attached article.
---- Dennis R. Holmes, M.D., F.A.C.S.