Percutaneous locoregional therapies (LRTs), such as thermal ablation, are performed to limit the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and offer a bridge for patients waiting for liver transplantation. However, physiological challenges related to tumor location, size, and existence of multiple lesions as well as safety concerns related to potential thermal injury to adjacent tissues may preclude the use of thermal ablation or lead to its failure. Here, we showed a successful injection of an ionic liquid into tissue under image guidance, ablation of tumors in response to the injected ionic liquid, and persistence (28 days) of coinjected chemotherapy with the ionic liquid in the ablation zone. In a rat HCC model, the rabbit VX2 liver tumor model, and 12 human resected tumors, injection of the ionic liquid led to consistent tumor ablation. Combining the ionic liquid with the chemotherapy agent, doxorubicin, resulted in synergistic cytotoxicity when tested with cultured HCC cells and uniform drug distribution throughout the ablation zone when percutaneously injected into liver tumors in the rabbit liver tumor model. Because this ionic liquid preparation is simple to use, is efficacious, and has a low cost, we propose that this new LRT may bridge more patients to liver transplantation.
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