Pancreatic cancer is typically diagnosed in a late stage with limited therapeutic options. For those patients, ultrasound-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (US-HIFU) can improve local control and alleviate pain. However, MRI-guided HIFU (MR-HIFU) has not yet been studied extensively in this context. To facilitate related research and accelerate clinical translation, we report a workflow for the HIFU ablation of the porcine pancreas under MRI guidance. The pancreases of five healthy German landrace pigs (35-58 kg) were sonicated using a clinical MR-HIFU system. Acoustic access to the pancreas was supported by a specialized diet and a hydrogel compression device for bowel displacement. Organ motion was suspended using periods of apnea. The size of the resulting thermal lesions was assessed using the thermal threshold- and dose profiles, non-perfused volume, and gross examination. The effect of the compression device on beam path length was assessed using MRI imaging. Eight of ten treatments resulted in clearly visible damage in the target tissue upon gross examination. Five treatments resulted in coagulative necrosis. Good agreement between the four metrics for lesion size and a clear correlation between the delivered energy dose and the resulting lesion size were found. The compression device notably shortened the intra-abdominal beam path. We demonstrated a workflow for HIFU treatment of the porcine pancreas in-vivo under MRI-guidance. This development bears significance for the development of MR-guided HIFU interventions on the pancreas as the pig is the preferred animal model for the translation of pre-clinical research into clinical application.

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PubMed