CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 466–476 | Cite as

Upper-Urinary-Tract Effects After Irreversible Electroporation (IRE) of Human Localised Renal-Cell Carcinoma (RCC) in the IRENE Pilot Phase 2a Ablate-and-Resect Study

  • J. J. WendlerEmail author
  • M. Pech
  • J. Köllermann
  • B. Friebe
  • S. Siedentopf
  • S. Blaschke
  • D. Schindele
  • M. Porsch
  • D. Baumunk
  • J. Jürgens
  • F. Fischbach
  • J. Ricke
  • M. Schostak
  • M. Böhm
  • U. B. Liehr
Clinical Investigation



Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is a new potential ablation modality for small renal masses. Animal experiments have shown preservation of the urine-collecting system (UCS). The purpose of this clinical study was to perform the first evaluation and comparison of IRE’s effects on the renal UCS by using urinary cytology, magnetic-resonance imaging, and resection histology in men after IRE of pT1a renal-cell carcinoma (RCC).


Seven patients with biopsy-proven RCC pT1a cN0cM0 underwent IRE in a phase 2a pilot ablate-and-resect study (IRENE trial). A contrast-enhanced, diffusion-weighted MRI and urinary cytology was performed 1 day before and 2, 7, and 27 days after IRE. Twenty-eight days after IRE the tumour region was completely resected surgically.


Technical feasibility was demonstrated in all patients. In all cases, MRI revealed complete coverage of the tumour area by the ablation zone with degenerative change. The urographic late venous MRI phase (urogram scans) demonstrated normal morphological appearances. Urine cytology showed a temporary vacuolisation of the cyto- and caryoplasmas after IRE. Whereas the urothelium showed signs of regeneration 28 days after IRE-ablation, the tumour and parenchyma below it showed necrosis and permanent tissue destruction.


Renal percutaneous IRE appears to be a safe treatment for pT1a RCC. The preservation of the UCS with unaltered normal morphology as well as urothelial regeneration and a phenomenon (new in urinary cytology) of temporary degeneration with vacuolisation of detached transitional epithelium cells were demonstrated in this clinical pilot study.


Irreversible electroporation Renal-cell carcinoma Small renal masses Kidney tumour Focal therapy Ablation Urinary cytology Upper urinary tract IRENE study 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed and the conduct of the study as a whole was in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments and comparable ethical standards. Approval was obtained for the study by the national research committee (BfArM) and the institutional ethics committee.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects in this study. Additional informed consent for identifying information was not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC and the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. J. Wendler
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Pech
    • 2
  • J. Köllermann
    • 4
  • B. Friebe
    • 2
  • S. Siedentopf
    • 3
  • S. Blaschke
    • 1
  • D. Schindele
    • 1
  • M. Porsch
    • 5
  • D. Baumunk
    • 6
  • J. Jürgens
    • 2
  • F. Fischbach
    • 2
  • J. Ricke
    • 7
  • M. Schostak
    • 1
  • M. Böhm
    • 8
  • U. B. Liehr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of UrologyOtto von Guericke University of MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyOtto von Guericke University of MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of PathologyOtto von Guericke University of MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  4. 4.Department of PathologySana Medical Center OffenbachOffenbachGermany
  5. 5.Urological PracticeMagdeburgGermany
  6. 6.Urological PracticeStuttgartGermany
  7. 7.Department of RadiologyLudwig Maximilians University of MunichMunichGermany
  8. 8.Urological PracticeDill-ClinicsDillenburgGermany

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