Irreversible Electroporation to Treat Malignant Tumor Recurrences Within the Pelvic Cavity: A Case Series

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Objective: To describe the initial experience with irreversible electroporation (IRE) to treat pelvic tumor recurrences. Methods: A retrospective single-center analysis was performed. Adverse events were recorded using Common Terminology Criteria of Adverse Events (CTCAE) 4.0. Clinical outcome was determined using pain- and general- symptom assessment, including Seddon’s peripheral nerve injury (PNI) types. Radiological outcome was evaluated by comparing baseline with three-month 18F-FDG PET-CT follow-up. Results: Eight patients (nine tumors [recurrences of primary rectal (n = 4), anal (n = 1), sigmoid (n = 1), cervical (n = 1), and renal cell carcinoma (n = 1)]) underwent percutaneous IRE as salvage therapy. Median longest tumor diameter was 3.7 cm (range 1.2–7.0). One CTCAE grade III adverse event (hemorrhage) and eight CTCAE grade II complications occurred in 6/8 patients: vagino-tumoral fistula (n = 1), lower limb motor loss (n = 3; PNI type II) with partial recovery in one patient, hypotonic bladder (n = 2; PNI types I and II) with complete recovery in one patient, and upper limb motor loss (n = 2; PNI type II) with partial recovery in both patients. No residual tumor tissue was observed at 3-month follow-up. After a median follow-up of 12 months, local progression was observed in 5/9 lesions (4/5 were >3 cm pre-IRE); one lesion was successfully retreated. Debilitating preprocedural pain (n = 3) remained unchanged (n = 1) or improved (n = 2). Conclusion: IRE may represent a suitable technique to treat pelvic tumor recurrences, although permanent neural function loss can occur. Complete ablation seems realistic for smaller lesions; for larger lesions symptom control should be the focus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1631-1640
Number of pages10
JournalCardiovascular and interventional radiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Ablation
  • Feasibility
  • Locoregional neoplasm recurrence
  • Pelvic region
  • Peripheral nerves

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