Locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC) accounts for 30% of patients with pancreatic cancer. Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is a novel cancer treatment that may improve survival and quality of life in LAPC. This narrative review will provide a perspective on the clinical experience of pancreas IRE therapy, explore the evidence for the mode of action, assess treatment complications, and propose strategies for augmenting IRE response. A systematic search was performed using PubMed regarding the clinical use and safety profile of IRE on pancreatic cancer, post-IRE sequential histological changes, associated immune response, and synergistic therapies. Animal data demonstrate that IRE induces both apoptosis and necrosis followed by fibrosis. Major complications may result from IRE; procedure related mortality is up to 2%, with an average morbidity as high as 36%. Nevertheless, prospective and retrospective studies suggest that IRE treatment may increase median overall survival of LAPC to as much as 30 months and provide preliminary data justifying the well-designed trials currently underway, comparing IRE to the standard of care treatment. The mechanism of action of IRE remains unknown, and there is a lack of data on treatment variables and efficiency in humans. There is emerging data suggesting that IRE can be augmented with synergistic therapies such as immunotherapy.



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