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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2013 Oct;24(10):1513-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jvir.2013.07.005.

Microwave ablation of pancreatic head cancer: safety and efficacy.

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Division of Interventional Radiology, Department of Radiology, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy. Electronic address:



To evaluate the safety and efficacy of percutaneous microwave (MW) ablation treatment in locally advanced, nonresectable, nonmetastatic pancreatic head cancer.


Ten patients with pancreatic head cancer treated with percutaneous (n = 5) or laparotomic (n = 5) MW ablation were retrospectively reviewed. The MW generator used (45 W at 915 MHz) was connected by coaxial cable to 14-gauge straight MW antennas with a 3.7- or 2-cm radiating section. One or two antennae were used, with an ablation time of 10 minutes. Ultrasonographic (US) and combined US/cone-beam computed tomographic (CT) guidance were used in five patients each. Follow-up was performed by CT after 1, 3, 6, and, when possible, 12 months. Tumor response was assessed per Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (version 1.1) and Choi criteria. The feasibility, safety, and major and minor complications associated with quality of life (QOL) were recorded prospectively.


The procedure was feasible in all patients (100%). One late major complication was observed in one patient, and no visceral injury was detected. No patient had further surgery, and all minor complications resolved during the hospital stay. An improvement in QOL was observed in all patients despite a tendency to return to preoperative levels in the months following the procedure, without the influence of minor complications. No repeat treatment was performed.


Despite the small number of patients, the present results can be considered encouraging, showing that MW ablation is a feasible approach in the palliative treatment of pancreatic tumors.


CR; IRE; MW; PD; PR; QOL; RECIST; RF; Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors; SD; complete response; irreversible electroporation; microwave; partial response; progressive disease; quality of life; radiofrequency; stable disease

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