Long term effectiveness of electrochemotherapy for the treatment of lower lip squamous cell carcinoma

J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2018 Nov;46(11):1968-1974. doi: 10.1016/j.jcms.2018.08.013. Epub 2018 Aug 31.


Purpose: Electrochemotherapy (ECT) is a therapeutic approach based on the local application of electrical pulses that permeabilize cell membranes to enhance the uptake of low-permeant chemotherapeutic agents, thus increasing their cytotoxic effects.

Materials and methods: Twenty-one patients with SCC of the lower lip were treated according to the European Standard Operating Procedures of Electrochemotherapy. Bleomycin (15,000 IU/m2 body surface area) was administered intravenously over a 1-min period. Eight electrical pulses (amplitude, 1000 V/cm; duration, 100 μs) were generated and delivered at a repetition frequency of 5 kHz. Changes in tumor volume were used to assess treatment response.

Results: Objective response (OR), complete response (CR), and partial response (PR) rates of 100%, 71.4%, and 28.6% respectively were demonstrated following a single session of ECT. ECT was well tolerated, and no adverse events occurred.

Conclusions: Intravenous bleomycin-based ECT is a safe and effective therapy for SCC of the lower lip. ECT improves the quality-of-life of patients by preserving the function and the aesthetic appearance of the affected area. ECT provides a therapeutic option for elderly and frail patients who, due to their state of health, are not suitable for, or refuse surgical interventions.

Keywords: Carcinoma; ECT; Elderly; Electrochemotherapy; Lower lip SCC; Squamous cell.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Bleomycin / administration & dosage
  • Bleomycin / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Electrochemotherapy* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Lip Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Bleomycin