Focused ultrasound as a local therapy for liver cancer

Cancer J. 2010 Mar-Apr;16(2):118-24. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e3181db7c32.


Conventional surgical treatments of liver cancer are invasive (including minimally invasive) with a high incidence of new metastasis and poor success, even after multiple resections or ablations. These limitations motivated research into new, less invasive solutions for liver cancer treatment.Focused ultrasound surgery (FUS), or high-intensity focused ultrasound, has been recognized as a noninvasive technology for benign and malignant tumor treatment. Previously, FUS was guided with ultrasound that has limited target definition and monitoring capability of the ablation process. Combining magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with multiple-element phased-array transducers to create MRI-guided focused ultrasound thermal therapy provides more accurate targeting and real-time temperature monitoring. This treatment is hindered by the ribcage that limits the acoustic windows to the liver and the respiratory motion of the liver. New advances in MRI and transducer design will likely resolve these limitations and make MRI-guided FUS a powerful tool in local liver cancer therapy. This article reviews this technology and advances that can expand its use for cancer treatment in general and liver cancer in particular.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Ultrasonic Therapy*