Electrochemotherapy in head and neck cancer: A review of an emerging cancer treatment

Armando De Virgilio, Massimo Ralli, Lucia Longo, Patrizia Mancini, Giuseppe Attanasio, Francesca Atturo, Marco De Vincentiis, Antonio Greco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Patients affected by aggressive neoplasms with a high propensity to metastasize to the skin, including some types of head and neck cancer, may benefit from electrochemotherapy, a modality that combines the electroporation of cell membranes and chemotherapy to facilitate the transport of non-permeant molecules into cells; the host immune response consequently participates in achieving the abolition of tumors. Electrochemotherapy can be successfully used for skin metastases of head and neck tumors and, with some limitations, for primary and relapsing neoplasms; it can also be applied on an outpatient basis with a favorable cost-benefit ratio and it is a repeatable treatment that, if necessary, can be followed by traditional antineoplastic therapies. Although still a palliative treatment, the good level of tolerability and the high success rates of electrochemotherapy make it worth consideration among treatment options in selected patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3415-3423
Number of pages9
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018


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