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BACKGROUND: PanDox is a Phase-1 trial of chemotherapeutic drug delivery to pancreatic tumors using ultrasound-mediated hyperthermia to release doxorubicin from thermally sensitive liposomes. This report describes trial-related hyperthermia simulations featuring: (i) new ultrasonic properties of human pancreatic tissues, (ii) abdomen deflections imposed by a water balloon, and (iii) respiration-driven organ motion. METHODS: Pancreas heating simulations were carried out using three patient body models. Pancreas acoustic properties were varied between values found in the literature and those determined from our human tissue study. Acoustic beam distortion was assessed with and without balloon-induced abdomen deformation. Target heating was assessed for static, normal respiratory, and jet-ventilation-controlled pancreas motion. RESULTS: Human pancreatic tumor attenuation is 63% of the literature values, so that pancreas treatments require commensurately higher input intensity to achieve adequate hyperthermia. Abdominal wall deformation decreased the peak field pressure by as much as 3.5 dB and refracted the focal spot by as much as 4.5 mm. These effects were thermally counteracted by sidelobe power deposition, so the net impact on achieving mild hyperthermia was small. Respiratory motion during moving beam hyperthermia produced localized regions overheated by more than 8.0 °C above the 4.0 °C volumetric goal. The use of jet ventilation reduced this excess to 0.7 °C and yielded temperature field uniformity that was nearly identical to having no respiratory motion. CONCLUSION: Realistic modeling of the ultrasonic propagation environment is critical to achieving adequate mild hyperthermia without the use of real time thermometry for targeted drug delivery in pancreatic cancer patients.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Hyperthermia

Publication Date





918 - 934


Ultrasound, hyperthermia, pancreas, simulation, treatment planning, Abdominal Wall, Acoustics, Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic, Drug Delivery Systems, High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation, Humans, Hyperthermia, Hyperthermia, Induced, Pancreatic Neoplasms