Background. In addition to the chemotherapeutic drug being present within the tumor during electric pulse delivery, successful electrochemotherapy requires the entire tumor volume to be subjected to a sufficiently high electric field, while the electric field in the surrounding healthy tissue is as low as possible to prevent damage. Both can be achieved with appropriate positioning of the electrodes and appropriate amplitude of electric pulses.
Methods. We used 3D finite element numerical models and a genetic optimization algorithm to determine the optimum electrode configuration and optimum amplitude of electric pulses for treatment of three subcutaneous tumor models of different shapes and sizes and a realistic brain tumor model acquired from medical images.
Results. In all four tumor cases, parallel needle electrode arrays were a better choice than hexagonal needle electrode arrays, since their utilization required less electric current and caused less healthy tissue damage. In addition, regardless of tumor geometry or needle electrode configuration, the optimum depth of electrode insertion was in all cases deeper than the deepest part of the tumor.
Conclusions. Our optimization algorithm was able to determine the best electrode configuration in all four presented models and with further improvement it could be a useful tool in clinical electrochemotherapy treatment planning.