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Needle tract seeding following percutaneous irreversible electroporation for hepatocellular carcinoma
  1. Oluwatobi O Onafowokan and
  2. Nicola de Liguori Carino
  1. Department of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary surgery, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Oluwatobi O Onafowokan; tonafowokan7{at}


Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is a non-thermal ablative technique for unresectable liver malignancies deemed unsuitable for traditional thermal ablation due to proximity to biliary and/or vascular structures. Needle tract tumour seeding is a well-recognised complication following thermal ablation, while little is known about its risk with IRE use. We present a case of tumour seeding after IRE for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma in a man in his 70s. The procedure was complicated by bleeding from a pseudoaneurysm, which required coil embolisation and blood transfusion. He initially progressed well, however, imaging at 12 months indicated a new tumour in the right intercostal space along the tract of one of the IRE needles; consistent with seeding. Although the patient subsequently underwent systemic therapy with sorafenib, his disease progressed, and unfortunately he passed away 20 months following IRE. This report adds to mounting evidence of needle tract tumour seeding as a complication following IRE.

  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Hepatic cancer

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  • Contributors OOO and NdLC drafted and approved the final version of this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.