Interventional Oncology in the Treatment of Cancer

Interventional oncology (IO) is a rapidly growing field in cancer treatment that uses targeted minimally invasive procedures, performed under image guidance to diagnose, treat or relieve the symptoms of cancer and has become a pillar of cancer care alongside medical surgical and radiation oncology. In these procedures rather than removing tumors through open surgical procedures, these image-guided interventional procedures can be performed in place of or in combination with other cancer treatments to provide truly comprehensive care.

Compared to conventional procedures such as external radiation therapy, chemotherapy, pharmaceutical, and immunotherapy, minimally invasive interventional oncology techniques are usually safer and less painful than open surgery, results in fewer complications and hospital stays and are less costly. IO techniques are being studied in combination with targeted therapies and immunotherapies in the hope of improving outcomes in patients with cancer. Cryoablation, trans-arterial radio-embolization (TARE), trans-arterial chemo-embolization (TACE), microwave ablation (MWA), radiofrequency ablation (RFA), laser ablation, irreversible electroporation (IRE) and others are often used as standard cancer treatments.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer and incidence is rising for a variety of reasons including lifestyle and viral infections. According to the American Cancer Society in 2020, about 42,810 new cases including 30,170 in men and 12,640 in women will be diagnosed with cancer where 30,160 people will die of these cancers. It is much more common in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia than in the U.S. More than 800,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer each year globally and it is also a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, accounting more than 700,000 deaths each year. Interventional oncology is one of the effective options to treat liver cancer, which uses minimally invasive procedures to treat primary and metastatic cancers. In January 2018, Terumo Europe NV received the approval of LifePearl as a Class III device in Europe. LifePearl device is used in the treatment of primary and secondary liver cancer. It comprises a range of microsphere that is biocompatible, hydrophilic, precisely calibrated and capable of loading and releasing chemotherapeutic agents in a controlled manner.

Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults and most often begins in the lining of tiny tubes in the kidney called renal tubules. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2020 about 73,750 new cases of kidney cancer including 45,520 men and 28,230 women will diagnose from cancer. About 14,830 people will die from this disease. Most people with kidney cancer are older. Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women. According to AHRA, the Association for Medical Imaging Management organization, the cost of treating the presumed 3cm kidney lesion is approximately $8,123 for microwave ablation, $8,289 for radiofrequency ablation, $10,103 for cryoablation and $12,984 for irreversible electroporation.

Lung cancer is a malignant lung tumor that is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. According to the American Cancer Association, about 228,820 new cases of lung cancer including 116,300 in men and 112,520 in women will be diagnosed in 2020. Approximately 135,720 may die due to lung cancer. Lung cancer mainly occurs in older people and the average age of people when diagnosed is about 70. Interventional treatments for lung cancers include radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation, and microwave ablation are most effective when lesions are focal, local, and small and haven’t spread to the mediastinum. According to IQ4I analysis, the total number of interventional oncology procedures performed for lung cancer is estimated to be 90,170 in 2019 globally.

Considering the attractiveness of the interventional oncology market, several venture capitalists are aggressively investing. Globally, funding is more concentrated on the prostate, liver and other types of cancers. For instance, in April 2019 ABK Biomedical, Inc. received a fund amount of $30.0 million from F-Prime Capital and Varian Medical Systems. The company will use the funding for continued focused product development of the Eye90 microsphere which is designed for transarterial radioembolization (TARE) and Easi-Vue microspheres for bland embolic/transarterial embolization (TAE) for the treatment of hypervascular tumors.

The interventional oncology global market is consolidated with the top five players occupying the major market share. Some of the major players in interventional oncology market include Medtronic Plc (Ireland), Sirtex Medical (Australia), Boston Scientific Corporation (U.S.), Guerbet (France), Merit Medical System (U.S.), Varian Medical System, Inc. (U.S.), Terumo Corporation (Japan), Johnson & Johnson (U.S.), AngioDynamics, Inc. (U.S.), and Monteris Medical (U.S.).

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