Heating up breast tissue with microwave technology boosts the power of chemotherapy and shrinks cancerous tumors, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center researchers say.
The finding means that more women with late-stage breast cancer may avoid losing breasts to mastectomy, said Dr. William Dooley, a researcher at the OU Cancer Institute and director of surgical oncology at OU Medicine.
He said patient trials at OU and across the country are showing promising results from the technique, which was tried on tumors larger than an inch and reduced the need for mastectomies by almost 90 percent. Called focused microwave technology, it uses a modified version of Star Wars defense system technology. More patient trials are planned later this year.
"This therapy is a major advancement for women with later-stage breast cancer,” Dooley said.
"Right now most patients with large tumors lose their breast. With this treatment, along with chemotherapy, we were able to kill the cancer and save the breast tissue.”
Dooley said microwave heat of up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit is targeted at breast tissue.
Know It: Cancer