Role of laser ablation in multimodal treatment of radioiodine- refractory bone metastases of thyroid cancer: a retrospective study

Claudio Maurizio Pacella*, Enrico Di Stasio, Rinaldo Guglielmi, Alberto Baroli, Luca Pedrazzini, Irene Misischi, Agnese Persichetti, Enrico Papini

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose To assess the efficacy, safety, and pain benefits of imaging-guided laser ablation (IGLA) in patients with radioiodine-refractory (RR) bone metastases from differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC). Patients and methods The institutional medical records of patients with bone metastases from DTC treated with laser ablation (LA) were reviewed retrospectively. Local response, complications, and effects on pain relief were investigated. Results Six osteolytic lesions in five patients (one male, four females; mean age 65.4 ± 5.1 years, range 58–72) were treated with IGLA. All lesions were osteolytic and all have had previous treatments with high-dose radioiodine therapy followed by external radiotherapy (EBRT). All patients assumed opioid analgesics for severe pain. Overall, the lesions (mean size 5.8 ± 3.2 cm; median 5.0 cm, range 3.0–12.0 cm) underwent nine IGLA sessions (mean 1.8 ± 0.4 sessions; median 2.0 sessions, range 1–2). In four (80%) out five lesions, cross-sectional imaging showed a nearly complete response (CR) while the largest lesion was ablated by 80%. Pain changes were assessed with the Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form, that was administered before IGLA and during a 6-month follow-up. Patients experienced significant reduction in worst pain, average pain, and pain interference. Following IGLA, the average daily opioid requirement rapidly and progressively decreased. Treatments were well-tolerated and no major complications occurred. Conclusions IGLA is an effective and safe debulking procedure and provides significant pain relief in patients suffering from DTC bone metastases that are not responsive to standard treatments. So, IGLA could be considered as part of a multimodality management of advanced thyroid cancer with RR metastatic skeletal involvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-347
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Differentiated thyroid cancer
  • Mimimally invasive techniques
  • Thermal ablation therapies
  • laser ablation


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