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Evaluation of high-frequency irreversible electroporation (H-FIRE) for treatment of canine insulinoma


To evaluate the feasibility, safety, and immune effects of using a novel non-thermal ablation technique, high-frequency irreversible electroporation (H-FIRE), for treating canine insulinomas.


Insulinoma, the most common pancreatic tumor in dogs, can cause potentially life-threatening hypoglycemia (low glucose). Insulinoma also aggressively metastasizes (spreads to other parts of the body), frequently to the liver and lymph nodes. Treatment of both primary and metastatic disease is essential for improving prognosis. Current treatment options for canine insulinoma are limited and may not provide long-term disease control. Novel treatment approaches are needed to improve long-term outcomes for dogs with this disease.

High Frequency Irreversible Electroporation (H-FIRE) is a novel non-thermal technique that precisely destroys tumor cells while sparing normal organs. H-FIRE also potentially induces an immune response against the tumor, which may help to guard against metastatic disease development. This study proposes to evaluate the feasibility and safety of treating canine insulinoma with H-FIRE, and to evaluate the tumor immune response to H-FIRE.

This study is funded by the American College of Veterinary Surgery.


  • Dogs of any age, weight, sex, or breed with a probable diagnosis of insulinoma supported by the presence of pancreatic lesion(s) on CT imaging and an inappropriately high serum insulin level.
  • Owners have elected resection surgery to treat their dog’s tumor(s).
  • Dogs with suspected metastatic tumors in the liver may be included in the study.
  • Tumor(s) determined to be amenable to surgical resection and accessible for CT-guided H-FIRE treatment.
  • Dogs must be free from other significant systemic illness.


  • Dogs who have received any tumor-directed therapy (e.g. radiation), immunotherapy, or immunosuppressive drugs prior to study enrollment.
  • Evidence of extensive metastatic disease

Study Design

Dogs with suspected insulinoma will have an initial visit to determine eligibility, including relevant bloodwork, examination, and diagnostic imaging. Once the dog is enrolled and surgery is scheduled, H-FIRE treatment will be administered to the tumor during tumor resection surgery. Patients will be monitored in the intensive care unit after surgery and recovery from anesthesia. Bloodwork will be obtained 24 hours, 48 hours, and at 1 week after treatment. Total hospitalization time for the study is approximately 3-7 days, depending on the recovery of each patient.


For enrolled dogs, the study-related bloodwork, histopathological analysis of the resected tumor, up to $1,000 of the cost of a CT scan and up to $1,000 of the cost of surgery will be paid for by the study. The cost of H-FIRE treatment is covered by the study. For enrolled dogs, owners’ out of pocket costs, including initial screening to determine eligibility, are estimated at $3,500-5,500.


Mindy Quigley, Clinical Trials Coordinator
Office Phone: 540-231-1363 | Email:

Dr. Joanne Tuohy, Surgical Oncology
Phone: 540-231-4621 | Email:

If your query is urgent, please call the Small Animal Hospital on 540-231-4621.

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