Percutaneous Cryoablation for Recurrent Head and Neck Tumors

Jean Schwartz*, Pierre Auloge, Guillaume Koch, Joey Marie Robinson, Julien Garnon, Roberto Luigi Cazzato, Joffrey Perruisseau-Carrier, Christian Debry, Afshin Gangi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To report techniques and results of 16 cryoablation procedures in 11 patients treated for recurrent head and neck cancer. Methods and Materials: This retrospective study reviewed 11 consecutive patients with head and neck cancer recurrence after primary treatment by surgery and radiotherapy, treated with cryoablation between 2016 and 2020. Efficacy was measured by local control rate evaluated on MRI or/and PET. Tumor characteristics, number of cryoprobes, thermoprotective measures and complications were documented. Results: Sixteen cryoablation procedures were performed in 11 patients with head and neck cancer recurrence after surgery or radiotherapy, deemed ineligible for classic salvage treatment. Among 11 patients, four were treated for an epidermoid carcinoma, four for an adenocarcinoma and three for other types: 1 muco-epidermoid carcinoma, 1 adenoid cystic carcinoma and 1 esthesioneuroblastoma, 10/11 patients had prior surgery, 7/11 patients had prior chemotherapy and 3/11 patients had prior radiotherapy. Median number of cryoprobes was 4, [IQR, 3–6 cryoprobes], thermoprotective measures to protect surrounding organs were required for 10/16 procedures. After cryoablation, local control rate was 45.4% at a mean follow-up of 11.7 months (range 3–34 months). Among the 16 cryoablation procedures, four resulted in complications, two were considered major complications: one septic shock on inhalation pneumopathy during extubation, requiring intensive care; and one dysphonia due to a recurrent nerve injury. Conclusion: Cryoablation as a salvage treatment for recurrence of head and neck tumors after surgery and/or radiotherapy is an effective option, especially for patients that cannot benefit from salvage surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-799
Number of pages9
JournalCardiovascular and interventional radiology
Issue number6
Early online date4 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Cryoablation
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Image guided
  • Percutaneous treatment


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