Adaptation of laser interstitial thermal therapy for tumor ablation under MRI monitoring in a rat orthotopic model of glioblastoma

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Acta neurochirurgica


BACKGROUND: Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) under magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) monitoring is being increasingly used in cytoreductive surgery of recurrent brain tumors and tumors located in eloquent brain areas. The objective of this study was to adapt this technique to an animal glioma model.

METHODS: A rat model of U251 glioblastoma (GBM) was employed. Tumor location and extent were determined by MRI and dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI. A day after assessing tumor appearance, tumors were ablated during diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI)-MRI using a Visualase LITT system (n = 5). Brain images were obtained immediately after ablation and again at 24 h post-ablation to confirm the efficacy of tumor cytoablation. Untreated tumors served as controls (n = 3). Rats were injected with fluorescent isothiocyanate (FITC) dextran and Evans blue that circulated for 10 min after post-LITT MRI. The brains were then removed for fluorescence microscopy and histopathology evaluations using hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) staining.

RESULTS: All rats showed a space-occupying tumor with T2 and T1 contrast-enhancement at pre-LITT imaging. The rats that underwent the LITT procedure showed a well-demarcated ablation zone with near-complete ablation of tumor tissue and with peri-ablation contrast enhancement at 24 h post-ablation. Tumor cytoreduction by ablation as seen on MRI was confirmed by H&E and MHC staining.

CONCLUSIONS: Data showed that tumor cytoablation using MRI-monitored LITT was possible in preclinical glioma models. Real-time MRI monitoring facilitated visualizing and controlling the area of ablation as it is otherwise performed in clinical applications.

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ePub ahead of print