Electroporation therapy of skin cancer in the head and neck area

Dermatol Surg. 2010 Aug;36(8):1245-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2010.01617.x.


Background: Electroporation therapy is a new cancer treatment modality in which a locally applied electrical field enhances cell membrane permeability, allowing greater intracellular accumulation of a chemotherapeutic agent.

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of electroporation therapy in treating basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin.

Materials and methods: Six patients with skin cancer of the head and neck were treated using electroporation therapy with intratumorally injected bleomycin. Orbital growth, facial nerve proximity, or proximity to cartilage of the external meatus complicated four of these tumors. The intention was curative. The follow-up period was 24 months and included biopsies after 8 weeks.

Results: In four of the six patients, one treatment was enough to eradicate the tumor. In one patient, the tumor persisted even after a second treatment with electroporation therapy. A septal cartilage perforation was the only major complication. The cosmetic results were very satisfactory. One additional recurrence was recorded 6 months after the follow-up period

Conclusion: Electroporation therapy is a promising new cancer treatment that should be further evaluated as an alternative to surgery, especially in complicated skin cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage*
  • Bleomycin / administration & dosage*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Ear Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Electrochemotherapy*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Bleomycin