Electrochemotherapy efficacy evaluation for treatment of locally advanced stage III cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: a 22-cases retrospective analysis

J Transl Med. 2017 Apr 26;15(1):82. doi: 10.1186/s12967-017-1186-8.


Background: Extensive squamous cell carcinoma has few therapeutic options. In such cases, electrochemotherapy involving electroporation combined with antineoplastic drug appears to be a new potential option and may be considered as an alternative treatment. The aim of this retrospective single-center study was to evaluate electrochemotherapy efficacy in treatment of locally advanced stage III squamous cell carcinoma, in which surgical procedures would have entailed wide tissue sacrifice.

Methods: Clinical features, treatment response, and adverse effects were evaluated in 22 patients treated with electrochemotherapy with intravenous injection of bleomycin for extensive stage III cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Treatment of cutaneous lesions were performed according to the European Standard Operating Procedures of Electrochemotherapy.

Results: Overall response to electrochemotherapy treatment was observed in 18 (81.8%) patients. Clinical response with necrosis of tumor mass was observed from the first session and lasted for all follow up period that ranged between 5 and 48 months with a median of 34 months. Overall the treatment was well tolerated with a very low complication rate.

Conclusions: Electrochemotherapy represents a safe and effective therapeutic approach, associated with a good tolerability.

Keywords: Electrochemotherapy; Electroporation; Squamous cell carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Electrochemotherapy* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Treatment Outcome