Electrical conductivity measurement of excised human metastatic liver tumours before and after thermal ablation

Dieter Haemmerich*, David J. Schutt, Andrew W. Wright, John G. Webster, David M. Mahvi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Scopus citations


We measured the ex vivo electrical conductivity of eight human metastatic liver tumours and six normal liver tissue samples from six patients using the four electrode method over the frequency range 10 Hz to 1 MHz. In addition, in a single patient we measured the electrical conductivity before and after the thermal ablation of normal and tumour tissue. The average conductivity of tumour tissue was significantly higher than normal tissue over the entire frequency range (from 4.11 versus 0.75 mS cm-1 at 10 Hz, to 5.33 versus 2.88 mS cm-1 at 1 MHz). We found no significant correlation between tumour size and measured electrical conductivity. While before ablation tumour tissue had considerably higher conductivity than normal tissue, the two had similar conductivity throughout the frequency range after ablation. Tumour tissue conductivity changed by +25% and -7% at 10 Hz and 1 MHz after ablation (0.23-0.29 at 10 Hz, and 0.43-0.40 at 1 MHz), while normal tissue conductivity increased by +270% and +10% at 10 Hz and 1 MHz (0.09-0.32 at 10 Hz and 0.37-0.41 at 1 MHz). These data can potentially be used to differentiate tumour from normal tissue diagnostically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-466
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 4 2009



  • Cancer
  • Dielectric tissue properties
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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