Eur J Radiol Open 2019 22;6:62-67. Epub 2019 Jan 22.
Division of Surgery, Department of Clinical Sciences, Karolinska Inst itutet at Danderyd Hospital, 182 88 Stockholm, Sweden.
Introduction: Thermal ablation of liver tumours is an established technique used in selected patients with relatively small tumours that can be ablated with margin. Thermal ablation methods are not advisable near larger bile ducts that are sensitive to thermal injury causing strictures and severe morbidity. Irreversible electroporation (IRE) has the possibility to treat these tumours without harming the bile tree. The method is relatively new and has been proven to be feasible and safe with promising oncological results.
Methods: 50 treatments were performed on 42 patients that were not resectable or treatable by thermal ablation (12 women and 30 men) with 59 tumours in total. 51% were colorectal cancer liver metastases (CRCLM) and 34% were hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). 70% of the treatments were performed using stereotactic CT-guidance for needle placement.
Results: 81% of the treatments were performed with initial success. All patients with missed ablations were re-treated. Local recurrence rate at 3 months was 3% and 37% at one year. The complication rate was low with 2 patients having major complications (Clavien-Dindo grade 3b-5) and without 30-day mortality.
Conclusion: IRE is safe for treating tumours not suitable for thermal ablation with 63% of patients being without local recurrence after one year in a group of patients with tumours deemed unresectable. IRE has a role in the treatment of unresectable liver tumours close to heat-sensitive structures not suitable for thermal ablation.Level of Evidence: Level 4, Case Series.