Modeling the positioning of single needle electrodes for the treatment of breast cancer in a clinical case

Agnese Denzi, Lidia Strigari, Franco Di Filippo, Claudio Botti, Simona Di Filippo, Letizia Perracchio, Mattia Ronchetti, Ruggero Cadossi, Micaela Liberti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and is the second most common cause of cancer death in women. Electrochemotherapy (ECT) used in early-phase clinical trials for the treatment of primary breast cancer resulted in a not complete tumor necrosis in most cases. The present study was undertaken to analyze the feasibility to use ECT to treat patients with histologically proven unifocal ductal breast cancer. In particular, results of ECT treatment in a clinical case are compared with the ones of a simplified 3D dosimetric model. Methods: This clinical study was conducted with the pulse generator Cliniporator Vitae (IGEA, Carpi, Italy). ECT procedures were performed according to ESOPE standard operating procedures. Five single needle electrodes were used with one positioned in the center of the tumor, and the other four distributed around the nodule. Histological images of the resected tumor are compared with the maps of the electric field obtained with a simplified 3D model in Comsol Multiphysics v 4.3. Results: The results of the clinical case demonstrated a reduced efficacy of the ECT treatment described. The proposed simple numerical model of the breast tumor located in a low conductive tissue suggests that this is due to the reduced electric field induced inside the tumor with such 5 electrodes placement. However, where the electric field is predicted higher than the reversible electroporation threshold (E > 400 V/cm), also the histological images confirm the necrosis of the target with a good agreement between the modeled and clinical results. Conclusions: The results suggest the dependence of the effectiveness of the treatment on the careful placement of the electrodes. A detailed planned procedure for the tumor analysis after the treatment is also needed in order to better correlate the single electrode positions and the histological images. Simulation models could be used to identify better electrodes configuration in planning the experimental protocol for ECT treatment of breast tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberS1
JournalBioMedical Engineering Online
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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