Worldwide, lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, and lobectomy is the gold-standard treatment for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, many patients are poor surgical candidates for various reasons. Recently, image-guided ablation is being used for lung tumors. Cryoablation has been applied for the treatment of cancer in various nonaerated organs; recently it has been adapted to the treatment of lung tumors. Since an ice ball can be detected by computed tomography (CT), cryoablation of lung tumors is performed under CT guidance. Its first clinical application was reported in 2005, and it has been reported to be feasible in a few studies. Minor complications occurred at a high frequency (up to 70.5%), but major complications were rare (up to 1%). The most common complication is pneumothorax, and most cases need no further intervention. Local efficacy depends on tumor size and presence of a thick vessel close to the tumor. Midterm survival after cryoablation is 77%-88% at 3 years in patients with early-stage NSCLC. Although surgery is the gold-standard treatment for such patients, the initial results of cryoablation are promising. In this paper, the current status of cryoablation for primary lung tumors is reviewed.
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