Efficient palliation of haemorrhaging malignant melanoma skin metastases by electrochemotherapy

Melanoma Res. 2000 Dec;10(6):585-9. doi: 10.1097/00008390-200012000-00011.


Electric pulses can cause transient permeabilization of cell membranes (electroporation) and this can be utilized to increase the uptake of chemotherapy (electrochemotherapy). Preclinical studies have shown that in vivo electroporation causes transient shut down of blood flow both in normal and, in particular, malignant tissues. We report the successful palliation of a malignant melanoma patient with bleeding skin metastases using electrochemotherapy. In an on-going study of combined electrochemotherapy and low dose interleukin-2, one patient with bleeding skin metastases was included. Nine skin metastases, of which seven were ulcerated, were treated. After intratumoral bleomycin injection, needle electrodes with two arrays 4 mm apart were inserted into the tumours. Eight square wave electric pulses each 99 micros in duration and with an applied voltage to electrode distance ratio of 1.2 kV/cm were administered. In all the treated lesions, bleeding immediately stopped on administration of the electric pulses and did not recur. The treated metastases developed crusts and the lesions healed in a matter of weeks. Treatments were given under local anaesthesia, lasted a few minutes, and patient discomfort was brief and modest. In conclusion, we propose that electrochemotherapy should be considered for the palliation of haemorrhaging metastases as it is an efficient, tolerable, brief, outpatient, once-only treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Bleomycin / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drug Therapy / methods*
  • Electroporation / methods*
  • Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Time Factors


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Interleukin-2
  • Bleomycin