Many patients undergoing lumpectomy surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center for the removal of an early detected breast tumor – the surgical option of choice for this diagnosis — are benefitting from new intra-operative technology that detects microscopic amounts of cancer cells on removed tumor tissue not visible during or following surgical intervention.
The Division of Breast Surgery at NYU Langone was the first in New York City to utilize MarginProbe for early stage breast cancer. Manufactured and marketed by Dune Medical Devices, MarginProbe utilizes non-destructive radio-frequency spectroscopy technology in the operating room to analyze the outer margins of removed cancerous tissue to detect traces of cancer cells. If cancer cells are detected along the margins of the removed tissue, the surgeon excises additional tissue from the surgical site to ensure that no additional cancer cells remain.
“The greatest benefit of MarginProbe is that we can perform this additional tissue removal during a patient’s initial surgery, thereby sparing them the anxiety and frustration of additional follow-up surgery,” says Freya Schnabel, MD, Director of Breast Surgery at NYU Langone.
MarginProbe was the subject of a major multi-institutional retrospective study led by Dr. Schnabel and published in the March 2014 edition in Annals of Surgical Oncology. The study examined close to 600 patients who underwent lumpectomies for non-palpable breast malignancies. It concluded that the utilization of MarginProbe was as much as three times more effective in finding additional cancer on the margins of removed tumor tissue, compared to more traditional intra-operative imaging and other assessment tools.
“We found that adjunctive use of the MarginProbe device in the operating room significantly improved surgeons’ ability to identify additional cancer cells on the margins of removed tumors,” Dr. Schnabel says. “MarginProbe’s detection of additional cancer cells along the margins of removed tissue indicates that additional tissue removal is warranted. This, in turn, improves the rate of a completely successful lumpectomy with no additional follow-up surgery required.”
Dr. Schnabel has used MarginProbe in more than 50 cases, and is extremely encouraged with the results. “The MarginProbe allows us to increase the likelihood that patients will leave the OR with a successful lumpectomy,” she says. “This technology is a real advance, and represents a further refinement of the lumpectomy procedure.”
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women in the U.S., with over 285,000 new cases diagnosed each year. It is estimated that between 60 to 75 percent of these patients opt for a lumpectomy – the removal of the cancerous lesion, but not the entire breast. Most patients will undergo some form of post-surgical treatment, either chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or a combination of the two.
MarginProbe’s greatest benefit is that it provides added assurance to both the surgeon and the patient that all cancer cells are removed during the initial surgery. “It is critically important to spare patients the additional burden of re-excision procedures and the time that is lost from work and family. MarginProbe helps us achieve that.”