Early Identification of Residual Tumors following Microwave Ablation Using Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasonography in a Rabbit VX2 Liver Cancer Model

Huiming Yi, Baohuan Cai, Xi Ai, Kaiyan Li, Pengfei Song, Wei Zhang

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1 Scopus citations


Objective. It is difficult to evaluate the ablation effect immediately after thermal ablation of liver cancer by clinical imaging methods, due to the immediate formation of an annular inflammatory reaction band (IRB). This study is aimed at exploring the early identification indicators of the IRB and residual tumor postmicrowave ablation (MVA) using contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS). Methods. MVA was used to inactivate part of the tumor nodules in rabbit VX2 liver cancer models, leading to the coexistence of the IRB with residual tumors. Quantitative analysis of the perfusion parameters of the tumor and ablation zone was performed using CEUS, followed by liver biopsy and VEGFR-2 immunohistochemical staining. Results. All rabbits successfully tolerated VX2 tumor inoculation and MVA operation. No statistically significant difference existed between the IRB vs. residual tumors, the IRB vs. junctional areas, and residual tumors postablation vs. VX2 tumors before ablation in regional blood volume, blood velocity, and blood flow estimated by parameters A, k, and A∗k of CEUS quantitative analysis. There was a statistically significant difference between the IRB and normal liver parenchyma in regional blood velocity and blood flow (p=0.005 and p=0.023, respectively). Normal liver parenchyma showed nonspecific VEGFR-2 staining, while VX2 tumor before ablation and residual tumor after ablation both showed positive VEGFR-2 staining; the necrosis zone showed negative staining by VEGFR-2 immunohistochemical staining. Conclusion. MVA had no significant effect on the residual tumor hemodynamics. The blood flow in the IRB increased significantly as compared to normal liver parenchyma, resembling tumor hemodynamic patterns. CEUS can detect residual tumors immediately postablation only when they protrude from the annular-shaped IRB. In addition, VEGFR-2 targeted CEUS may have a great potential for detecting residual tumor after thermal ablation of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2462058
JournalBioMed Research International
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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