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Br J Cancer. 1998 Jun;77(12):2336-42.

Effective treatment of cutaneous and subcutaneous malignant tumours by electrochemotherapy.

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LPPMB/Biochimie-Enzymologie, URA 147 CNRS, Institute Gustave-Roussy, Villejuif, France.


Electrochemotherapy (ECT) enhances the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic agents by administering the drug in combination with short intense electric pulses. ECT is effective because electric pulses permeabilize tumour cell membranes and allow non-permeant drugs, such as bleomycin, to enter the cells. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the anti-tumour effectiveness of ECT with bleomycin on cutaneous and subcutaneous tumours. This article summarizes results obtained in independent clinical trials performed by five cancer centres. A total of 291 cutaneous or subcutaneous tumours of basal cell carcinoma (32), malignant melanoma (142), adenocarcinoma (30) and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (87) were treated in 50 patients. Short and intense electric pulses were applied to tumours percutaneously after intravenous or intratumour administration of bleomycin. The tumours were measured and the response to the treatment evaluated 30 days after the treatment. Objective responses were obtained in 233 (85.3%) of the 273 evaluable tumours that were treated with ECT. Clinical complete responses were achieved in 154 (56.4%) tumours, and partial responses were observed in 79 (28.9%) tumours. The application of electric pulses to the patients was safe and well tolerated. An instantaneous contraction of the underlying muscles was noticed. Minimal adverse side-effects were observed. ECT was shown to be an effective local treatment. ECT was effective regardless of the histological type of the tumour. Therefore, ECT offers an approach to the treatment of cutaneous and subcutaneous tumours in patients with minimal adverse side-effects and with a high response rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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