MarginProbe System is Effective Tool in Assessing Margins During Breast Cancer Surgery

To assist surgeons in assessing margins in the operating room, The MarginProbe System was created by Dune Medical Devices. Using the tool, surgeons can get immediate information about the presence of cancer cells on the margins of a tumor.
BY KATIE KOSKO @Katie_Kosko
PUBLISHED: APRIL 06, 2017
For patients with breast cancer, surgery is the most common treatment. They can undergo either of the two main types of surgeries: a lumpectomy — part of the breast containing the cancer is removed, or a mastectomy — all of the breast is removed.

The surgeon performing the operation looks for clear margins, meaning that no cancer cells are seen at the outer edges of the tissue that was removed. However, in some cases, a positive margin — cancer at the edge of the removed tissue — occurs, and that can lead to a second operation for the patient and an increased risk of cancer recurrence.

To assist surgeons in assessing margins in the operating room, The MarginProbe System was created by Dune Medical Devices. Using the tool, surgeons can get immediate information about the presence of cancer cells on the margins of a tumor.

In a study recently published online in the Annals of Surgical Oncology, a team of researchers gave a systematic review of the device. Richard Gray, M.D., general surgeon, co-director of the Breast Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, and lead author on the study, spoke about the MarginProbe’s usefulness and limitations in an interview with CURE.

How would you explain the use of the MarginProbe system to a patient?

It’s a device that is designed to detect abnormal cells at the edge of tissue that’s removed during breast cancer surgery. The goal of that is to make sure that all the cancerous cells are removed at the time of the first operation, so patients don’t have to go back for a second operation.

Are there any statistics on how much MarginProbe has improved the success of lumpectomies overall?

Among the various studies there is some variability. MarginProbe has largely been used in lumpectomies, and that’s where the evidence resides. In terms of the statistics for patients undergoing lumpectomies, the use of the MarginProbe has decreased the rate of having cancer cells at the edge of the lumpectomy. That’s good because, most of the time, finding cancer cells at the margin means there is at least a question of whether all the cancer has been removed, and therefore the woman has to undergo a second operation.
 
One of the most reliable studies showed that the rate of positive margins went down from 42 percent to 31 percent. So, that means that 11 out of 100 women had clear margins because of the MarginProbe device. And, in that same study, there were six out of 100 women who were able to avoid a second operation because of the use of the MarginProbe device.

When was the MarginProbe first introduced in the operating room, and how has the product changed lumpectomies?

The MarginProbe received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in late 2012. But it has been adopted in relatively small numbers. One reason for this is that it is somewhat expensive. It is reported that it costs the hospitals around $20,000 for the system, and then the probe that is used in each procedure is about $1,000.
 


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