The Influence of Irreversible Electroporation Parameters on the Size of the Ablation Zone and Thermal Effects: A Systematic Review

Annemiek M. Hogenes*, Christiaan G. Overduin, Cornelis H. Slump, Cornelis J.H.M. van Laarhoven, Jurgen J. Fütterer, Richard P.G. ten Broek, Martijn W.J. Stommel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: The aim of this study was to review the effect of irreversible electroporation parameter settings on the size of the ablation zone and the occurrence of thermal effects. This insight would help to optimize treatment protocols and effectively ablate a tumor while controlling the occurrence of thermal effects.

Methods: Various individual studies report the influence of variation in electroporation parameters on the ablation zone size or occurrence of thermal effects. However, no connections have yet been established between these studies. With the aim of closing the gap in the understanding of and personalizing irreversible electroporation parameter settings, a systematic review was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. A quality assessment was performed using an in-house developed grading tool based on components of commonly used grading domains. Data on the electroporation parameters voltage, number of electrodes, inter-electrode distance, active needle length, pulse length/number/protocol/frequency, and pulse interval were extracted. Ablation zone size and temperature data were grouped per parameter. Spearman correlation and linear regression were used to define the correlation with outcome measures.

Results: A total of 7661 articles were screened, of which 18 preclinical studies (animal and phantom studies) met the inclusion criteria. These studies were graded as moderate (4/18) and low (14/18) quality. Only the applied voltage appeared to be a significant linear predictor of ablation zone size: length, surface, and volume. The pulse number was moderately but nonlinearly correlated with the ablation zone length. Thermal effects were more likely to occur for higher voltages (≥2000 V), higher number of electrodes, and increased active needle length.

Conclusion: Firm conclusions are limited since studies that investigated and precisely reported the influence of electroporation parameters on the ablation zone size and thermal effects were scarce and mostly graded low quality. High-quality studies are needed to improve the predictability of the combined effect of variation in parameter combinations and optimize irreversible electroporation treatment protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalTechnology in cancer research and treatment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Ablation
  • Animal models
  • Cancer therapy
  • Irreversible electroporation
  • Permeabilization
  • Phantom model
  • Pulsed electric field
  • Temperature


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