Cystic echinococcosis (CE) and alveolar echinococcosis (AE) are chronic, complex and neglected diseases. Their treatment depends on a number of factors related to the lesion, setting and patient. We performed a literature review of curative or palliative non-surgical, non-chemical interventions in CE and AE. In CE, some of these techniques, like radiofrequency thermal ablation (RFA), were shelved after initial attempts, while others, such as High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound, appear promising but are still in a pre-clinical phase. In AE, RFA has never been tested, however, radiotherapy or heavy-ion therapies have been attempted in experimental models. Still, application to humans is questionable. In CE, although prospective clinical studies are still lacking, therapeutic, non-surgical drainage techniques, such as PAIR (puncture, aspiration, injection, re-aspiration) and its derivatives, are now considered a useful option in selected cases. Finally, palliative, non-surgical drainage techniques such as US- or CT-guided percutaneous biliary drainage, centro-parasitic abscesses drainage, or vascular stenting were performed successfully. Recently, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)-associated techniques have become increasingly used to manage biliary fistulas in CE and biliary obstructions in AE. Development of pre-clinical animal models would allow testing for AE techniques developed for other indications, e.g. cancer. Prospective trials are required to determine the best use of PAIR, and associated procedures, and the indications and techniques of palliative drainage.
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