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Electrochemotherapy in mucosal cancer of the head and neck

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Subtitle:a systematic review
Simple Summary Electrochemotherapy is a topical ablative treatment based on the formation of electropores in the cell membrane exposed to an external electric field. The consequent intracellular accumulation of hydrophilic bleomycin or cisplatin molecules greatly increases their cytotoxicity. Currently, electrochemotherapy is recognized as an effective treatment for tumors of different histological types and also for some deep-seated tumors. In mucosal cancer of the head and neck, experience with electrochemotherapy is limited, primarily due to the anatomical complexity of the region and the poor accessibility of tumors, as well as the design limitations of the electrodes used to create an electric field. A systematic review of the literature and subsequent analysis of 164 patients from 16 studies treated between 1998 and 2020 confirmed that electrochemotherapy is an effective and safe treatment for mucosal cancer of the head and neck as well. Electrochemotherapy (ECT) is a local ablative treatment that is based on the reversible electroporation and intracellular accumulation of hydrophilic drug molecules, which greatly increases their cytotoxicity. In mucosal head and neck cancer (HNC), experience with ECT is limited due to the poor accessibility of tumors. In order to review the experience with ECT in mucosal HNC, we undertook a systematic review of the literature. In 22 articles, published between 1998 and 2020, 16 studies with 164 patients were described. Curative and palliative intent treatment were given to 36 (22%) and 128 patients (78%), respectively. The majority of tumors were squamous cell carcinomas (79.3%) and located in the oral cavity (62.8%). In the curative intent group, complete response after one ECT treatment was achieved in 80.5% of the patients, and in the palliative intent group, the objective (complete and partial) response rate was 73.1% (31.2% and 41.9%). No serious adverse events were reported during or soon after ECT and late effects were rare (19 events in 17 patients). The quality-of-life assessments did not show a significant deterioration at 12 months post-ECT. Provided these preliminary data are confirmed in randomized controlled trials, ECT may be an interesting treatment option in selected patients with HNC not amenable to standard local treatment.
Journal: Cancers
ISSN: 2072-6694
Volume: 13
Number of pages: 15
Publication year:2021
Keywords:A1 Journal article