Patient-specific treatment planning of electrochemotherapy: procedure design and possible pitfalls

Denis Pavliha, Bor Kos, Anže Zupanič, Marija Marčan, Gregor Serša, Damijan Miklavčič
Bioelectrochemistry 2012, 87: 265-73
Electrochemotherapy uses electroporation for enhancing chemotherapy. Electrochemotherapy can be performed using standard operating procedures with predefined electrode geometries, or using patient-specific treatment planning to predict electroporation. The latter relies on realistic computer models to provide optimal results (i.e. electric field distribution as well as electrodes' position and number) and is suitable for treatment of deep-seated tumors. Since treatment planning for deep-seated tumors has been used in radiotherapy, we expose parallelisms with radiotherapy in order to establish the procedure for electrochemotherapy of deep-seated tumors. We partitioned electrochemotherapy in the following phases: the mathematical model of electroporation, treatment planning, set-up verification, treatment delivery and monitoring, and response assessment. We developed a conceptual treatment planning software that incorporates mathematical models of electroporation. Preprocessing and segmentation of the patient's medical images are performed, and a 3D model is constructed which allows placement of electrodes and implementation of the mathematical model of electroporation. We demonstrated the feasibility of electrochemotherapy of deep-seated tumors treatment planning within a clinical study where treatment planning contributed to the effective electrochemotherapy treatment of deep-seated colorectal metastases in the liver. The described procedure can provide medical practitioners with information on using electrochemotherapy in the clinical setting. The main aims of this paper are: 1) to present the procedure for treating deep-seated tumors by electrochemotherapy based on patient-specific treatment planning, and 2) to identify gaps in knowledge and possible pitfalls of such procedure.

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