Rational design of new electrodes for electrochemotherapy

E. P. Spugnini, G. Citro, A. Porrello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrochemotherapy associates the local delivery of anticancer drugs with the administration of permeabilizing electric pulses that support the antiblastic action. The basic instrumentation for this therapy is constituted by a pulse generator and various specific electrodes. While many efforts have been profuse by researchers in this field to obtain the standardization of the pulse generating equipment over the past 15 years, the delivery apparatus still needs refinements in order to reach most of the body districts, to control the homogeneity and stability of the electric fields and to further reduce morbidity. With the aim to develop innovative electrodes able to satisfy, at least partially, these requirements, extensive studies on pet patients with spontaneous neoplasms have been conducted, leading to the manufacturing of several different prototypes. In this paper we discuss the rationale of 11 different electrodes, briefly summarize the results obtained and their experimental validation, also presenting five paradigmatic clinical cases. In particular, it is shown that the caliper electrodes are more suited for the treatment of cutaneous and subcutaneous lesions, while the needle arrays are more efficacious in intraoperative settings. Furthermore, relevant peculiarities of unipolar electrodes are examined with a particular focus on the irregular current paths that they produce and on the potentialities of this feature. Remarkably, the decrease of the steric encumbrance turned out to be a stronger factor in electrode design than the containment of the total number of electric fields covered in serial ECT sessions. In the conclusions, perspectives and new challenges of electrode design for electrochemotherapy are illustrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-254
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Animal models
  • Bioengineering
  • Biphasic pulses
  • Bleomycin
  • Electrochemotherapy
  • Pets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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