Feasibility and safety of EUS-guided cryothermal ablation in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer

Gastrointest Endosc. 2012 Dec;76(6):1142-51. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2012.08.006. Epub 2012 Sep 26.


Background: New therapies are needed for pancreatic cancer.

Objective: To determine the feasibility and safety of a new endoscopic treatment. Secondary endpoints were to determine effects on tumor growth measured with CT scan and to find the overall survival.

Design: A cohort study of patients with local progression of advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma after neoadjuvant therapy. The cryotherm probe (CTP), a flexible bipolar device that combines radiofrequency with cryogenic cooling, was used under EUS guidance.

Setting: San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy; University Medical Center, Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.

Patients: A total of 22 patients (male/female 11/11; mean age 61.9 years) were enrolled from September 2009 to May 2011.

Intervention: Radiofrequency heating: 18 W; pressure for cooling: 650 psi (Pounds per Square Inch); application time: depending on tumor size.

Main outcome measurements: Feasibility was evaluated during the procedure. A clinical and radiologic follow-up was planned.

Results: The CTP was successfully applied in 16 patients (72.8%); in 6 it was not possible because of stiffness of the GI wall and of the tumor. Amylase arose in 3 of 16 patients; none had clinical signs of pancreatitis. Late complications arose in 4 cases: 3 were mostly related to tumor progression. Median postablation survival time was 6 months. A CT scan was performed in all patients, but only in 6 of 16 was it possible to clearly define the tumor margins after ablation. In these patients, the tumor appeared smaller compared with the initial mass (P = .07).

Limitations: Small sample of patients, difficulty of objectifying the size of the ablated zone by CT scan.

Conclusion: EUS-guided CTP ablation is feasible and safe. Further investigations are needed to demonstrate progression-free survival and local control.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery*
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Chemoradiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Cryosurgery / methods*
  • Endosonography*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional*