Evaluation of thermal therapy in a prostate cancer model using a wet electrode radiofrequency probe

S. Bhowmick, D. J. Swanlund, J. E. Coad, L. Lulloff, M. F. Hoey, J. C. Bischof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the temperature-time threshold of local cell death in vivo for thermal therapy in a prostate cancer animal model and to use this value as a benchmark to quantify global tissue injury. Materials and Methods: Two studies were designed in the Dunning AT-1 rat prostate tumor hind limb model. For both studies, a wet electrode radiofrequency (RF) probe was used to deliver 40 W of energy for 18 to 62 seconds after a 30-second infusion of hypertonic saline/Hypaque through the RF antenna. Thermal history measurements were obtained in tumors from at least two Fluoroptic® probes placed radially 5 mm from the axis of a RF probe and 10 mm below the surface of the tissue. In study 1, the thermal history required for irreversible cell injury was experimentally determined by comparing the predicted injury accumulation (ω) with cell viability at the fluoroptic probe locations using an in vivo-in vitro assay. The ω value was calculated from the measured thermal histories using an Arrhenius damage model. In study 2, RF energy was applied for 40 seconds in all cases. At 1, 3, and 7 days after thermal therapy, triphenyltetrazolium chloride dye (TTC) and histologic analyses were performed to assess global tissue injury within a 5-mm radius from the axis of the RF probe. Results: Study 1 showed that cell survival dropped to 0 for 0.42 < ω < 0.7. This result was the basis for selection of 40 seconds of RF thermal therapy in study 2, which yielded ω ave = 0.5 in the tissue 5 mm from the probe axis. Both TTC and histology analysis showed that sham-treated tissue was not irreversibly injured. However, there was an inherent heterogeneity present in the tumor that accounted for as much as 15% necrosis in control or sham-treated tissue. In contrast, at 1, 3, and 7 days after therapy, significantly less enzyme activity was observed by TCC in thermally treated tissue compared with sham-treated tissue (35 v 85%; P < 0.001). Histologic analysis of thermally treated tissues revealed a gradual increase in the percent of coagulative necrosis (47%-70%) with a concomitant decrease in the percentage of shocked cells (53%-28%). At day 7, <3% viability was observed in treated tumors compared with 90% viability in sham-treated tissue. Conclusion: The threshold of cellular injury in vivo corresponded to ω > 0.7 (≥48°C for 40 seconds). Global tissue injury could be conservatively predicted on the basis of local thermal histories during therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-640
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of endourology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001


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