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

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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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