A research team from Massachusetts General Hospital has described how a technique called radiofrequency ablation (RFA) destroyed all renal cell carcinoma (RCC) tumors less than 3 cm in size and some larger tumors, depending on their location. The most common form of kidney cancer, RCC will be diagnosed in almost 32,000 Americans this year and is most frequently treated with surgical removal through either an open or laparoscopic procedure. “We’re very pleased with the success we’ve had, particularly treating small tumors and those on the outside of the kidney,” says Debra Gervais, of the Abdominal Imaging and Interventional Radiology Service in the MGH Department of Radiology, first author of a paper in the February 2003 issue of Radiology. “We now have an another year of experience beyond what is reported in this paper — more than 30 additional patients — with similar results.” RFA delivers heat generated by electrical energy to tumor sites through a thin needle, similar to probes used in biopsy procedures. Placement of the probe is guided by CT scan, ultrasound or other imaging techniques. Widely used to treat cardiac arrhythmias, RFA is also being investigated for destruction of small liver tumors.