Making Breast Cancer Surgery More Effective

Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013 12:26 PM

By Nick Tate

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Up to 60 percent of the time, breast cancer surgery doesn't remove all tumor cells, requiring patients to undergo a second operation. But surgeons at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center have developed a device that could significantly improve surgeons' odds of removing all tumor cells the first time around.

The MarginProbe System reduces by half the need to re-operate and cut out breast cancer cells missed during an initial lumpectomy by letting surgeons immediately assess whether cancer cells remain on the margins of excised tissue. Currently, patients have to wait days for a pathologist to make a determination.
"All of my patients know someone who has had to go back into surgery because their doctor didn't get the entire tumor out," said Alice Police, M.D., a UC-Irvine Health surgical oncologist. "The ability to check tissue in the operating room is a game changer in surgery for early-stage breast cancer."
The goal in a lumpectomy is to remove tumors while preserving as much normal breast tissue as possible. The Food and Drug Administration approved MarginProbe in December, and UC-Irvine Medical Center is the first hospital in the U.S. to use, according to manufacturer Dune Medical Devices.
Dr. Police, medical director of Pacific Breast Care in Costa Mesa, and Karen Lane, M.D., an associate professor of surgery and clinical director of the UC-Irvine Health Breast Health Center in Orange, began operating with MarginProbe in early March.
The two had participated in an FDA trial involving more than 660 American women that demonstrated the device’s effectiveness.
The system includes a sterile handheld probe and a portable console that can identify tissues on the spot as either cancerous or healthy.

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