MRI-guided transurethral ultrasound therapy offers a minimally invasive approach for the treatment of localized prostate cancer. Integrating a multi-element planar transducer with active MR temperature feedback can enable three-dimensional conformal thermal therapy of a target region within the prostate gland while sparing surrounding normal tissues. Continuous measurement of the temperature distribution in tissue enables dynamic compensation for unknown changes in blood flow and tissue properties during treatment. The main goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of using active temperature feedback on a clinical 1.5 T MR imager for conformal thermal therapy. MR thermometry was performed during heating in both gel phantoms and excised tissue with a transurethral heating applicator, and the rotation rate and power were varied based on the thermal measurements. The capability to produce a region of thermal damage that matched a target boundary was evaluated. The influence of a cooling gradient (to simulate cooling of the rectum or urethra) on the desired pattern of thermal damage was also investigated in gel phantoms. Results showed high correlation between the desired target boundary and the 55°C isotherm generated during heating with an average distance error of 0.9 mm ± 0.4 mm (n = 6) in turkey breasts, 1.4 mm ± 0.6 mm (n = 4) in gel phantoms without rectal cooling and 1.4 mm ± 0.6 mm (n = 3) in gel phantoms with rectal cooling. The results were obtained using a temporal update rate of 5 s, a spatial resolution of 3 x 3 x 10 mm for the control point, and a temperature uncertainty of approximately 1°C. The performance of the control algorithm under these conditions was comparable to that of simulations conducted previously by our group. Overall, the feasibility of generating targeted regions of thermal damage with a transurethral heating applicator and active MR temperature feedback has been demonstrated experimentally. This method of treatment appears capable of accounting for unpredictable and varying tissue properties during the treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging