Percutaneous ablation therapy of hepatocellular carcinoma with irreversible electroporation: MRI findings

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OBJECTIVE. Irreversible electroporation is a new ablation modality. Our purpose was to describe the MRI findings after irreversible electroporation treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). SUBJECTS AND METHODS. In an 18-month period, we treated 24 HCC lesions in 20 patients who were not candidates for surgery. MRI was performed before and 1 month after irreversible electroporation. We used the liver-specific contrast medium gadoxetic acid. We evaluated the size, shape, signal intensity (T1-weighted, T2-weighted, and diffusionweighted imaging), dynamic contrast enhancement pattern, and signal behavior during the liver-specific phase. Changes in the perilesional parenchyma, perfusion abnormalities, and complications were also recorded. RESULTS. According to the modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors system, 22 of 24 lesions had a complete response, and two lesions showed a partial response and were retreated. The lesions showed a mean size increase of 10%, with a round or oval shape. On the T1-weighted images, we observed a hyperintense core and a hypointense rim. On the T2-weighted sequences, the signal was heterogeneously hypointense. On diffusion-weighted images, 83% of lesions showed restricted diffusion, with b values of 0-800 s/mm2, whereas in 17% of the lesions, the signal was not clearly discernible for different b values. The apparent diffusion coefficient values did not show statistically significant differences between the baseline (800-1020 × 10-3 mm2/s) and the reassessment after 1 month (900-1100 × 10-3 mm2/s). The necrotic area did not show a signal increase after contrast material injection. Perfusion abnormalities, such as areas of transient hepatic intensity difference, were present in the tissue adjacent to six treated lesions. In two patients, a reduced or absent concentration of the contrast medium was observed during the liver-specific phase around the ablation zone. One patient had an arteriovenous shunt and another had biliary duct dilatation. CONCLUSION. MRI detects characteristic morphologic and functional changes after irreversible electroporation treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1000-1007
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015


  • Ablation
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Irreversible electroporation
  • Liver
  • MRI
  • Posttreatment assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Medicine(all)


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