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Clinical Study

Multicentre study of microwave ablation for pulmonary oligorecurrence after radical resection of non-small-cell lung cancer



Microwave ablation (MWA) is an effective minimally invasive technique for lung tumours. We aim to evaluate its role for pulmonary oligorecurrence after radical surgery of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


From June 2012 to Jan 2020, a total of 103 patients with pulmonary oligorecurrence after previous radical surgical resection of NSCLC were retrospectively analysed. The primary endpoint was postoperative progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary endpoints were postoperative overall survival (OS), patterns of failure, complications and predictive factors associated with prognosis.


Of the 103 patients identified, 135 pulmonary oligorecurrences developed at a median interval of 34.8 months. In total, 143 sessions of MWA were performed to ablate all the nodules. The median PFS and OS were 15.1 months and 40.6 months, respectively. After MWA, 15 (14.6%) patients had local recurrence as the first event, while intrathoracic oligorecurrence and distant metastases were observed in 45 (43.7%) and 20 (19.4%) patients, respectively. In the multivariate analysis, local recurrence and intrathoracic oligorecurrence were not significant predictors for OS (P = 0.23 and 0.26, respectively). However, distant metastasis was predictive of OS (HR = 5.37, 95% CI, 1.04–27.84, P = 0.04).


MWA should be considered to be an effective and safe treatment option for selected patients with pulmonary oligorecurrence after NSCLC radical surgical resection.

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Fig. 1: Flow chart of patients selection.
Fig. 2: A 48-year-old male patient with multiple pulmonary recurrences 16 months after right upper-lobe adenocarcinoma resection.
Fig. 3: MWA for a 64-year-old male patient with left pulmonary recurrence 17 months after right lower-lobe resection of squamous cell carcinoma.
Fig. 4: Kaplan–Meier survival curves for patients that received MWA treatment for post-operation pulmonary oligorecurrences.
Fig. 5: Kaplan–Meier analysis of PFS and OS by prognostic factors.


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Author information




Y.N. and X.Ye designed the study, analysed the data and wrote the paper. J.C. and X.L. analysed the data and wrote the paper. J.P., B.Z., X.Yang and Z.W. collected the data.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Jiachang Chi or Xiaoguang Li or Xin Ye.

Ethics declarations

Ethics approval and consent to participate

The ethics committee of Shandong Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong First Medical University, Renji Hospital of Jiaotong University, The First Affiliated Hospital of Shandong First Medical University, Beijing Hospital and National Geriatric Medical Center approved the study. The study was performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Informed consent was obtained from the subjects prior to participating in the study.

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Not applicable.

Data availability

All the data generated in this study are included in this paper. The data presented in this paper will be available from the corresponding author upon request.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Funding information

This study has received funding from National Natural Science Foundation of China (81502610 and 82072028) and Shandong Provincial Natural Science Foundation, China (ZR201911040313).

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Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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Ni, Y., Peng, J., Yang, X. et al. Multicentre study of microwave ablation for pulmonary oligorecurrence after radical resection of non-small-cell lung cancer. Br J Cancer 125, 672–678 (2021).

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