Development of a thermal model for irreversible electroporation: an approach to estimate and optimize the IRE protocols

Journal: International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery
Year of publication: 2021
Page: 16(8):1325-1334

G. Wardhana, J. Pedro Almeida, M. Abayazid & J.J. Fütterer

PURPOSE: Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is an emerging technique that has drawn attention in the field of cancer treatment. IRE uses non-thermal electric pulses to induce death of cancerous cells. However, recent studies have shown that the application of this technique may result in heating of the tissue. There is still room for improving its efficiency and defining better treatment protocols. This study investigates the optimal IRE protocols that avoiding the thermal damage during the IRE treatment.

METHODS: Electrode and pulse parameter are investigated. Finite element models are created to evaluate the ablation area and the temperature changes in the tissue. The model is validated experimentally in bovine liver tissue, while the parameters were optimized using response surface method (RSM).

RESULTS: From analysis of variance, the parameter of electrode distance and input voltage has significant effect to the temperature rise in the IRE treatment of bovine liver (P = 0.020 and P = 0.003 respectively). Meanwhile, only the input voltage significantly affects the ablation area (P < 0.001). The optimal result from RSM showed that for maximum ablation area 250.82mm2 with no thermal damage, the IRE protocol consisted of an active electrode length of 10 mm, a distance between electrodes of 10 mm, and the delivery of 50 pulses of 41.21 µs and 3000 V.

CONCLUSIONS: The approach presented in this study allows the optimization of the IRE protocols. An optimal IRE protocol that maximizes the ablation area was successfully calculated which can be applied with no risk of thermal damage to the tissue.