Antitumor effects of electrochemical treatment

Chin J Cancer Res. 2013 Apr;25(2):223-34. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.1000-9604.2013.03.03.


Electrochemical treatment is an alternative modality for tumor treatment based on the application of a low intensity direct electric current to the tumor tissue through two or more platinum electrodes placed within the tumor zone or in the surrounding areas. This treatment is noted for its great effectiveness, minimal invasiveness and local effect. Several studies have been conducted worldwide to evaluate the antitumoral effect of this therapy. In all these studies a variety of biochemical and physiological responses of tumors to the applied treatment have been obtained. By this reason, researchers have suggested various mechanisms to explain how direct electric current destroys tumor cells. Although, it is generally accepted this treatment induces electrolysis, electroosmosis and electroporation in tumoral tissues. However, action mechanism of this alternative modality on the tumor tissue is not well understood. Although the principle of Electrochemical treatment is simple, a standardized method is not yet available. The mechanism by which Electrochemical treatment affects tumor growth and survival may represent more complex process. The present work analyzes the latest and most important research done on the electrochemical treatment of tumors. We conclude with our point of view about the destruction mechanism features of this alternative therapy. Also, we suggest some mechanisms and strategies from the thermodynamic point of view for this therapy. In the area of Electrochemical treatment of cancer this tool has been exploited very little and much work remains to be done. Electrochemical treatment constitutes a good therapeutic option for patients that have failed the conventional oncology methods.

Keywords: Direct electric current; antitumoral treatment; dissipative structure; electrochemical treatment; tumor; tumor electrolysis; tumor entropy.