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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.207 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Print: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.2017020236
pages 293-318

Review of the Dielectric Properties of Animal and Human Tumors Determined from In Vivo Measurements

Everette C. Burdette
Acoustic Medsystems, 208 Burwash Ave., Savoy, IL 61874
Joseph Seals
Acoustic Medsystems, 208 Burwash Ave., Savoy, IL 61874
Stephen P. Auda
The Breast Health Clinic, 325 North Jeff Davis Drive, Fayetteville, GA 30214
Aishwarya D. Ambhire
Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607
Richard L. Magin
Diagnostic Imaging System Group (DIS), Richard and Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago, 851 South Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60607


In this article, we combine a review of the wide range of tissue dielectric studies and applications (e.g., safety, imaging, therapy) being pursued by the bioelectromagnetics community with a description of one specific application of dielectric measurements (in vivo tumor classification). The tumor measurements were acquired over a frequency range of 0.01–4.0 GHz using a technique based on the impedance change recorded by a short antenna when placed near or in a lossy dielectric. Substantial differences (up to 300%) were found between the dielectric properties of tumors (mammary adenocarcinoma, melanoma, lung carcinoma, glioblastoma and ependymoblastoma) and normal host tissues. Such differences reflect the known heterogeneity of abnormal cell growth in cancer. In addition, in vivo human measurements of breast carcinoma, normal skin and breast tissue indicate that a maximum differential power absorption (30% higher in tumor) occurs between 1.0 and 2.0 GHz. This information, when combined with tumor size, geometry, and anatomical location, enable the design and development of effective systems for the detection of tumors and for electromagnetically induced differential hyperthermia treatment. Finally, we also discuss these results in the context of other impedance and dielectric approaches used to characterize normal and neoplastic cells and tissues.

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