Irreversible electroporation to treat unresectable colorectal liver metastases (COLDFIRE-2): A phase II, two-center, single-arm clinical trial

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Background: Irreversible electroporation (IRE), an ablative technique that uses high-voltage electrical pulses, has shown promise for eradicating tumors near critical structures, including blood vessels and bile ducts. Purpose: To investigate the efficacy and safety of IRE for colorectal liver metastases (CRLMs) unsuitable for resection or thermal ablation because of proximity to critical structures and for further systemically administered treatments. Materials and Methods: Between June 2014 and November 2018, participants with fluorine 18 (18F) fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PETavid CRLMs measuring 5.0 cm or smaller, unsuitable for partial hepatectomy and thermal ablation, underwent percutaneous or open IRE ( identifier: NCT02082782). Follow-up included tumor marker assessment and 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging. For the primary end point to be met, at least 50% of treated participants had to be alive without local tumor progression (LTP) at 12 months, defined as LTP-free survival. Secondary aims were safety, technical success, local control allowing for repeat procedures, disease-free status, and overall survival. Results: A total of 51 participants (median age, 67 years [interquartile range, 62-75 years]; 37 men) underwent IRE. Of these 51 participants, 50 with a total of 76 CRLMs (median tumor size, 2.2 cm; range, 0.5-5.4 cm) were successfully treated in 62 procedures; in one participant, treatment was stopped prematurely because of pulse-induced cardiac arrhythmia. With a per-participant 1-year LTP-free survival of 68% (95% CI: 59, 84) according to competing risk analysis, the primary end point was met. Local control following repeat procedures was achieved in 74% of participants (37 of 50). Median overall survival from first IRE was 2.7 years (95% CI: 1.6, 3.8). Twenty-three participants experienced a total of 34 adverse events in 25 of the 62 procedures (overall complication rate, 40%). One participant (2%), who had an infected biloma after IRE, died fewer than 90 days after the procedure (grade 5 adverse event). Conclusion: Irreversible electroporation was effective and relatively safe for colorectal liver metastases 5.0 cm or smaller that were unsuitable for partial hepatectomy, thermal ablation, or further systemic treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-480
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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