Focused Transhepatic Electroporation Mediated by Hypersaline Infusion through the Portal Vein in Rat Model. Preliminary Results on Differential Conductivity

Radiol Oncol. 2017 Nov 29;51(4):415-421. doi: 10.1515/raon-2017-0051. eCollection 2017 Dec.


Background: Spread hepatic tumours are not suitable for treatment either by surgery or conventional ablation methods. The aim of this study was to evaluate feasibility and safety of selectively increasing the healthy hepatic conductivity by the hypersaline infusion (HI) through the portal vein. We hypothesize this will allow simultaneous safe treatment of all nodules by irreversible electroporation (IRE) when applied in a transhepatic fashion.

Material and methods: Sprague Dawley (Group A, n = 10) and Athymic rats with implanted hepatic tumour (Group B, n = 8) were employed. HI was performed (NaCl 20%, 3.8 mL/Kg) by trans-splenic puncture. Deionized serum (40 mL/Kg) and furosemide (2 mL/Kg) were simultaneously infused through the jugular vein to compensate hypernatremia. Changes in conductivity were monitored in the hepatic and tumour tissue. The period in which hepatic conductivity was higher than tumour conductivity was defined as the therapeutic window (TW). Animals were monitored during 1-month follow-up. The animals were sacrificed and selective samples were used for histological analysis.

Results: The overall survival rate was 82.4% after the HI protocol. The mean maximum hepatic conductivity after HI was 2.7 and 3.5 times higher than the baseline value, in group A and B, respectively. The mean maximum hepatic conductivity after HI was 1.4 times higher than tumour tissue in group B creating a TW to implement selective IRE.

Conclusions: HI through the portal vein is safe when the hypersaline overload is compensated with deionized serum and it may provide a TW for focused IRE treatment on tumour nodules.

Keywords: electrical conductivity; irreversible electroporation; liver tumour.