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Theoretical investigation of transgastric and intraductal approaches for ultrasound-based thermal therapy of the pancreas.



The goal of this study was to theoretically investigate the feasibility of intraductal and transgastric approaches to ultrasound-based thermal therapy of pancreatic tumors, and to evaluate possible treatment strategies.


This study considered ultrasound applicators with 1.2 mm outer diameter tubular transducers, which are inserted into the tissue to be treated by an endoscopic approach, either via insertion through the gastric wall (transgastric) or within the pancreatic duct lumen (intraductal). 8 patient-specific, 3D, transient, biothermal and acoustic finite element models were generated to model hyperthermia (n = 2) and ablation (n = 6), using sectored (210°-270°, n = 4) and 360° (n = 4) transducers for treatment of 3.3-17.0 cm3 tumors in the head (n = 5), body (n = 2), and tail (n = 1) of the pancreas. A parametric study was performed to determine appropriate treatment parameters as a function of tissue attenuation, blood perfusion rates, and distance to sensitive anatomy.


Parametric studies indicated that pancreatic tumors up to 2.5 or 2.7 cm diameter can be ablated within 10 min with the transgastric and intraductal approaches, respectively. Patient-specific simulations demonstrated that 67.1-83.3% of the volumes of four sample 3.3-11.4 cm3 tumors could be ablated within 3-10 min using transgastric or intraductal approaches. 55.3-60.0% of the volume of a large 17.0 cm3 tumor could be ablated using multiple applicator positions within 20-30 min with either transgastric or intraductal approaches. 89.9-94.7% of the volume of two 4.4-11.4 cm3 tumors could be treated with intraductal hyperthermia. Sectored applicators are effective in directing acoustic output away from and preserving sensitive structures. When acoustic energy is directed towards sensitive structures, applicators should be placed at least 13.9-14.8 mm from major vessels like the aorta, 9.4-12.0 mm from other vessels, depending on the vessel size and flow rate, and 14 mm from the duodenum.


This study demonstrated the feasibility of generating shaped or conformal ablative or hyperthermic temperature distributions within pancreatic tumors using transgastric or intraductal ultrasound.

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