Williams Cancer Institute


There have been several studies of the pulsed electric field (PEF) where tumor response was slowly verified in cancer patients. It was possible to demonstrate a better response in the immune system compared to traditional radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in a murine model, this shows a stronger immune cytokine profile and a better tumor response than radiofrequency thermal ablation for volumes of compatible ablation.

Understanding the differences in the post-ablation biological cascade between thermal ablation and PEF, which does not rely on thermal processes to kill cells. To understand the differences between those two methods we looked at cellular cytokine expression, immune cell infiltration, and tumor response (including contralateral rechallenge).” Regardless of not removing 100 percent of the tumor, the immune system is still activated. “.

While RFA-treated tumors showed immune cells to accumulate at the border of the treatment tumor zone, PEF-treated tumors showed immune cell infiltration throughout the tumor, thus PEF-treated tumors were found to have recruitment of dendritic cells than RFA-treated tumors,” according to Dr. Pastori. In addition, an increase in circulating adaptive immune cells is observed in the blood of PEF-treated mice. This observation was inversely related to volume tumor: increased numbers of adaptive immune cells generated lower tumor volumes in PEF-treated mice.”

The findings show that not all ablation modalities are treated equally: “Local administration of PEF demonstrates a systemic response, greater suppression of tumor growth, and possibly greater synergy with checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy compared with traditional RFA,” said Dr. Pastori

The potential to generate a systemic immune response from local therapy opens up several new avenues for treatment. “For example, in patients with suspected metastatic disease, EPF could be administered at the time of diagnostic biopsy to synergize and potentially improve response to standard pharmacotherapeutic agents while avoiding a second procedure. Additionally, some patients may experience abscopal effects triggered by the mechanism of PEF cell destruction and the resulting antigen release and immune stimulation that acts systemically to produce off-target beneficial effects.”

Reference: BY MELANIE PADGETT POWERS, 2023, 5 march, Pulsed electric field activates immune system better than radiofrequency ablation, http://irq.sirweb.org/sirtoday/PEF-activaties-immune/

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