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SIR publishes new position statement and quality improvement document on percutaneous lung ablation

The position statement recommends radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation and microwave ablation as appropriate forms of image-guided thermal ablation for cerntain lung tumors

FAIRFAX, VA (Aug. 2, 2021)—The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) issued a new position statement on percutaneous lung ablation. The position statement was published in the August issue of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (JVIR) with an accompanying quality improvement document, which establishes performance thresholds for patient safety.

“Minimally invasive, image-guided thermal ablation offers patients with early stage, non-small-cell lung cancer, recurring lung cancer, and metastatic disease a safe and effective treatment option,” said Mark Baerlocher, MD, SIR’s standards division councilor and an author of the position statement and quality improvement document.

“The two publications provide physicians with guidance on everything from patient selection to treatment delivery and post-treatment care and follow-up, ensuring high-quality care that improves patients’ lives,” said Baerlocher, an interventional radiologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Ontario, Canada.

Lung cancer is the second most common newly diagnosed cancer in the United States, with an estimated 228,000 new cases diagnosed in 2020. It is also the leading cause of cancer-related death.

Interventional radiologists use image-guided thermal ablation to treat primary and secondary lung tumors. Based on the current evidence, the position statement recommends that radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation and microwave ablation are all appropriate forms of image-guided thermal ablation to treat these tumors. The method of ablation should be determined by lesion characteristics and risk mitigation, according to the new document.

“Evidence-based position statements are important means of improving patient outcomes,” said SIR President Mathew S. Johnson, MD, FSIR, the Gary J. Becker Professor of Radiology Research at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. “Future comparative studies on the use of thermal ablation to treat these forms of lung cancer will help improve the evidence base and allow us to make stronger recommendations to the benefit of patients.”

The position statement was developed by a multidisciplinary group of authors including interventional radiology, medical oncology, thoracic surgery and radiation oncology specialists. It is endorsed by the Canadian Association for Interventional Radiology, the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe and the Society of Interventional Oncology.

Read the full position statement and quality improvement document on

Media contact information

Elise Castelli
SIR Director, Communications and Public Relations
Phone: (703) 460-5572 

Lottye Lockhart
SIR Manager, Communications and Social Media
Phone: (703) 460-5597

About the Society of Interventional Radiology

The Society of Interventional Radiology is a nonprofit, professional medical society representing more than 8,000 practicing interventional radiology physicians, trainees, students, scientists and clinical associates, dedicated to improving patient care through the limitless potential of image-guided therapies. SIR’s members work in a variety of settings and at different professional levels—from medical students and residents to university faculty and private practice physicians.