Laser thermal therapy is one of the treatments for malignant tumors. We developed a thermal endoscope using an ultra-compact thermo-sensor and established a new laparoscopic laser thermal therapy system to heat cancer tissue at an appropriate temperature, focusing on the fact that thermographic cameras are capable of two-dimensional temperature mapping. Hepatocellular carcinoma (N1S1) cells were implanted into the livers of Sprague–Dawley rats (n = 13) to create orthotopic hepatocellular carcinoma. Six of the rats underwent laparoscopic laser thermotherapy (70 °C, 5 min) using the newly developed system, and the others underwent laparoscopic insertion only. Lesion volume measurement and histological evaluation were performed in all of the rats. The laparoscopic laser thermal therapy system provided stable temperature control. When a temperature of 70 °C was used for the set temperature, the temperature of the target cancer was maintained within the range of 68–72 °C for 93.2% of the irradiation time (5 min). The median volume of the tumors that were thermally treated was significantly smaller than that of the untreated tumors. The newly developed laparoscopic laser thermal therapy system was capable of maintaining the temperature of the tumor surface at any desired temperature and was proven to be effective in treatment of the rat hepatocellular carcinoma model.
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