Evaluation of electrical properties of ex vivo human hepatic tissue with metastatic colorectal cancer

Colorectal Cancer

Physiol Meas. 2020 Sep 10;41(8):085005. doi: 10.1088/1361-6579/abaa55.


OBJECTIVE: To probe the distribution of electrical properties in tumor-bearing human hepatic tissues with metastatic colorectal cancer.

APPROACH: Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and a non-contact electromagnetic probe were used for distinguishing spatial heterogeneities in fresh, unfixed human hepatic tissues ex vivo from patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC).

MAIN RESULTS: Point-wise EIS measurements reported over a frequency range of 100 Hz-1 MHz showed that the interface tissue between visible tumor and normal tissue exhibits an electrically different domain (p < 0.05) from both normal tissue (over 100 Hz-100 kHz) and tumor tissue (over 100 Hz-1 MHz). Observations of the microstructure on tumor-bearing hepatic tissue from hematoxylin and eosin stained images and the equivalent circuit modelling were used to validate the impedance measurements and characterize previously unidentified interfacial domain between normal and tumor tissue. Lastly, in a proof of concept study, a new in-house designed non-contact electromagnetic probe, as opposed to the invasive EIS measurements, was demonstrated for distinguishing tumor tissue from the normal tissue in a hepatic tissue specimen from a patient with metastatic CRC.

SIGNIFICANCE: EIS measurements, correlated with histological observations, show potential for mapping electrical properties in tumor-bearing human hepatic tissue.