Electrical resistance of human soft tissue sarcomas: an ex vivo study on surgical specimens

L. G. Campana, M. Cesari, F. Dughiero, M. Forzan, M. Rastrelli, C. R. Rossi, E. Sieni, Anna Lisa Tosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a study about electrical resistance, which using fixed electrode geometry could be correlated to the tissue resistivity, of different histological types of human soft tissue sarcomas measured during electroporation. The same voltage pulse sequence was applied to the tumor mass shortly after surgical resection by means of a voltage pulse generator currently used in clinical practice for electrochemotherapy that uses reversible electroporation. The voltage pulses were applied by means of a standard hexagonal electrode composed by seven, 20-mm-long equispaced needles. Irrespective of tumor size, the electrode applies electric pulses to the same volume of tissue. The resistance value was computed from the voltage and current recorded by the pulse generator, and it was correlated with the histological characteristics of the tumor tissue which was assessed by a dedicated pathologist. Some differences in resistance values, which could be correlated to a difference in tissue resistivity, were noticed according to sarcoma histotype. Lipomatous tumors (i.e., those rich in adipose tissue) displayed the highest resistance values (up to 1700 Ω), whereas in the other soft tissue sarcomas, such as those originating from muscle, nerve sheath, or fibrous tissue, the electrical resistance measured was between 40 and 110 Ω. A variability in resistance was found also within the same histotype. Among lipomatous tumors, the presence of myxoid tissue between adipocytes reduced the electrical resistance (e.g., 50–100 Ω). This work represents the first step in order to explore the difference in tissue electrical properties of STS. These results may be used to verify whether tuning electric field intensity according to the specific STS histotype could improve tissue electroporation and ultimately treatment efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-87
Number of pages15
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Electrical properties of tissues
  • Electrochemotherapy
  • Sarcomas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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