Long-lasting response to electrochemotherapy in melanoma patients with cutaneous metastasis

Corrado Caracò, Nicola Mozzillo, Ugo Marone, Ester Simeone, Lucia Benedetto, Gianluca Di Monta, Maria L. Di Cecilia, Gerardo Botti, Paolo A. Ascierto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Treatment of early and multiple cutaneous unresectable recurrences is a major therapeutic problem with around 80% of patients relapsing within 5 years. For lesions refractory to elective treatments, electrochemotherapy (ECT) involving electroporation combined with antineoplastic drug treatment appears to be a new potential option. This study was undertaken to analyze the short- and long-term responses of lesions treated with ECT with intravenous injection of bleomycin in melanoma patients with in-transit disease or distant cutaneous metastases.Methods: Between June 2007 and September 2012, 60 patients with relapsed and refractory cutaneous melanoma metastases or in-transit disease underwent 100 courses of ECT with intravenous injection of bleomycin. Response to treatment was evaluated three months after ECT. A long-lasting response was defined as no cutaneous or in-transit relapse after a minimum of six months.Results: Three months after ECT, a complete response was observed in 29 patients (48.4%), a partial response in 23 patients (38.3%) and no change or progressive disease in 8 patients (13.3%). The objective response rate of all treated lesions was 86.6%. Thirteen patients (44.8% of complete responders) experienced a long-lasting response after one ECT session and were disease-free after a mean duration of follow-up of 27.5 months.Conclusions: The favorable outcome obtained in the present study demonstrates that ECT is a reliable, and effective procedure that provides long-term benefit in terms of curative and palliative treatment for unresectable cutaneous lesions without adversely impacting the quality of life of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number564
JournalBMC Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Cutaneous metastases
  • Electrochemotherapy
  • Melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics

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