Theoretical Basis for Controlling Minimal Tumor Temperature During Interstitial Conductive Heat Therapy

Charles F. Babbs, Neal E. Fearnot, J. A. Marchosky, C. J. Moran, James T. Jones, T. D. Plantenga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This paper describes simulation of steady-state intratumoral temperatures achieved by a simple modality of local heat therapy: interstitial treatment with parallel arrays of warmed, conductive heating elements. During “conductive heating” power is directly deposited only in the interstitial probes. Adjacent tissue is warmed by heat conduction. Simulations of interstitial conductive heating involved solution of the bioheat transfer equation on a digital computer using a finite difference model of the treated tissue. The simulations suggest that when the complete temperature distributions for conductive interstitial hyperthermia are examined in detail, substantial uniformity of the temperature distributions is evident. Except for a thin sleeve of tissue surrounding each heating element, a broad, flat central valley of temperature elevation is achieved, with a well defined minimum temperature, very close to modal and median tissue temperatures. Because probes are inserted directly in tumor tissue, the thin sleeve of overheated tissue would not be expected to cause normal tissue complications. The temperature of the heated probes must be continuously controlled and increased in the face of increased blood flow in order to maintain minimum tumor temperature. However, correction for changes in blood flow is possible by adjusting probe temperature according to a feedback control scheme, in which power dissipation from each probe is the sensed input variable. Conductive interstitial heating with continually controlled probe temperature deserves investigation as a technique for local hyperthermia therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-672
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1990


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