Cancer cells ablation with irreversible electroporation

Liron Miller, Jonathan Leor, Boris Rubinsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we perform in vitro irreversible electroporation (IRE) experiments with human hepatocarcinoma cells (HepG2) to investigate IRE as a new technique for undesirable tissue ablation. Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is the irreversible permeabilization of the cell membrane through the application of microsecond through millisecond electrical pulses. Until now IRE was studied only as an undesirable condition during the use of reversible electroporation in gene therapy and electrochemotherapy. There was a possibility that the IRE ablation domain is mostly superimposed on the electrical pulses induced Joule heating thermal ablation domain. This study demonstrates that there is a real and substantial domain of electrical parameters for IRE ablation of cancer that is distinct from the thermal domain and which results in complete cancer cell ablation. Experiments show that the application of 1500 V/cm in three sets of ten pulses of 300 microseconds each can produce complete cancer cell ablation. We also find that the use of multiple pulses appears to be more effective for cancer cell ablation than the application of the same energy in one single pulse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-705
Number of pages7
JournalTechnology in Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • And Thermal effects
  • Hepatic cancer
  • Irreversible electroporation


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