Ablation Technologies in Liver Cancer

November 29, 2011
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Radio frequency ablation (RFA), with limitations, has shown to be effective and has increasingly become the standard of care for non-resectable liver disease. Radiofrequency ablation devices work by sending alternating current through the tissue. This creates increased intracellular temperatures and localized interstitial heat. When temperatures exceed 60°C, cell proteins rapidly denature and coagulate, killing the cells and producing a lesion. The lesion can be used to resect and remove the tissue or to simply destroy the tissue, leaving the ablated tissue in place.

Radio frequency ablation (RFA), with limitations, has shown to be effective and has increasingly become the standard of care for non-resectable liver disease. Radiofrequency ablation devices work by sending alternating current through the tissue. This creates increased intracellular temperatures and localized interstitial heat. When temperatures exceed 60°C, cell proteins rapidly denature and coagulate, killing the cells and producing a lesion. The lesion can be used to resect and remove the tissue or to simply destroy the tissue, leaving the ablated tissue in place.

Laser-induced interstitial thermotherapy (LITT) and microwave have also been utilized for the ablation of HCC tumors, although these two treatments do not seem to work as well on large tumors as other treatments. Interstitial laser photocoagulation uses a thin optical fiber (which is inserted into the center of the tumor) and a laser. When the laser light is emitted, the cancerous cells undergo thermal necrosis. Interstitial microwave kills the tumor cells by heating them to a high temperature (50 degrees C) for an extended period of time.

Minimally invasive irreversible electroporation is another treatment for HCC tumors. Electroporation increases the permeability of the cell membrane by exposing the cell to electric pulses. Irreversible electroporation opens the cell membrane in such a way that the cell cannot reverse the process and close the membrane. This open membrane causes the cell’s death. Irreversible electroporation is felt by some researchers to be comparable to cryosurgery, nonselective chemical ablation and high temperature thermal ablation.


From “Ablation Technologies Worldwide Market, 2009-2019: Products, Technologies, Markets, Companies and Opportunities”, Report #A145; MedMarket Diligence, LLC