Updated standard operating procedures for electrochemotherapy of cutaneous tumours and skin metastases

Acta Oncol. 2018 Jul;57(7):874-882. doi: 10.1080/0284186X.2018.1454602. Epub 2018 Mar 25.


Electrochemotherapy is now in routine clinical use to treat cutaneous metastases of any histology, and is listed in national and international guidelines for cutaneous metastases and primary skin cancer. Electrochemotherapy is used by dermatologists, surgeons, and oncologists, and for different degrees and manifestations of metastases to skin and primary skin tumours not amenable to surgery. This treatment utilises electric pulses to permeabilize cell membranes in tumours, thus allowing a dramatic increase of the cytotoxicity of anti-cancer agents. Response rates, often after only one treatment, are very high across all tumour types. The most frequent indications are cutaneous metastases from malignant melanoma and breast cancer. In 2006, standard operating procedures (SOPs) were written for this novel technology, greatly facilitating introduction and dissemination of the therapy. Since then considerable experience has been obtained treating a wider range of tumour histologies and increasing size of tumours which was not originally thought possible. A pan-European expert panel drawn from a range of disciplines from dermatology, general surgery, head and neck surgery, plastic surgery, and oncology met to form a consensus opinion to update the SOPs based on the experience obtained. This paper contains these updated recommendations for indications for electrochemotherapy, pre-treatment information and evaluation, treatment choices, as well as follow-up.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Electrochemotherapy / methods
  • Electrochemotherapy / standards*
  • Electrochemotherapy / trends*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / drug therapy
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / secondary
  • Melanoma, Cutaneous Malignant
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Reference Standards
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / secondary