Electrochemotherapy in non-melanoma head and neck skin cancers: a three-center experience and review of the literature.

G Ital Dermatol Venereol 2016 Dec 16;151(6):610-618. Epub 2015 Sep 16.

Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Clinic, "Sapienza" University, Rome, Italy -

Background: The main purposes of this study were to evaluate the efficacy of electrochemotherapy in head and neck tumors, to assess local tumor control, its safety profile and its impact on the patients' quality of life.

Methods: This is a multicenter prospective, non-randomized phase II trial. This trial was carried out at the Dermatology Clinic of the "Sapienza" University of Rome, at the Dermatology Clinic of the University of Chieti and at the Dermatology Clinic of the University of Turin. Fifty-five patients with head and neck cancer were recruited. Electrochemotherapy was carried out according to the ESOPE guidelines. Statistical analyses were performed using Stata/SE v.12.0 Statistical Software.

Results: A significant clinical response was achieved in 50/55 patients with 91% of objective response rate (OR). Thirty-three out of 55 patients showed a complete response (CR) (60%); 17 treated patients had a partial response (PR) (31%). A significantly higher CR rate was obtained in patients not previously treated by surgery (15/19; 79%), with respect to those with a previous excision of the tumor (14/30; 47%) (P=0.025). An additional parameter influencing response is represented by anesthesia: patients treated by ECT with general anesthesia were characterized by significantly higher CR rate (68%) than those treated with local anesthesia (27%) (P=0.014).

Conclusions: Our experience confirmed high efficiency in local tumor control, excellent toxicity profile, tissue preservation with good cosmetic and functional results, even with repeated applications. ECT can represent a first-line treatment in the local management of head and neck cancers.

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December 2016
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