Ablation margin quantification after thermal ablation of malignant liver tumors: How to optimize the procedure? A systematic review of the available evidence

Pim Hendriks*, Fleur Boel, Timo TM Oosterveer, Alexander Broersen, Lioe Fee de Geus-Oei, Jouke Dijkstra, Mark C. Burgmans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Introduction: To minimize the risk of local tumor progression after thermal ablation of liver malignancies, complete tumor ablation with sufficient ablation margins is a prerequisite. This has resulted in ablation margin quantification to become a rapidly evolving field. The aim of this systematic review is to give an overview of the available literature with respect to clinical studies and technical aspects potentially influencing the interpretation and evaluation of ablation margins. Methods: The Medline database was reviewed for studies on radiofrequency and microwave ablation of liver cancer, ablation margins, image processing and tissue shrinkage. Studies included in this systematic review were analyzed for qualitative and quantitative assessment methods of ablation margins, segmentation and co-registration methods, and the potential influence of tissue shrinkage occurring during thermal ablation. Results: 75 articles were included of which 58 were clinical studies. In most clinical studies the aimed minimal ablation margin (MAM) was ≥ 5 mm. In 10/31 studies, MAM quantification was performed in 3D rather than in three orthogonal image planes. Segmentations were performed either semi-automatically or manually. Rigid and non-rigid co-registration algorithms were used about as often. Tissue shrinkage rates ranged from 7% to 74%. Conclusions: There is a high variability in ablation margin quantification methods. Prospectively obtained data and a validated robust workflow are needed to better understand the clinical value. Interpretation of quantified ablation margins may be influenced by tissue shrinkage, as this may cause underestimation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100501
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology Open
Volume11
Early online date27 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Ablation margin quantification
  • Image co-registration
  • MWA
  • RFA
  • Thermal ablation
  • Tissue shrinkage

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