Electrochemotherapy in mucosal cancer of the head and neck: A systematic review

Primož Strojan*, Aleš Grošelj, Gregor Serša, Christina Caroline Plaschke, Jan B. Vermorken, Sandra Nuyts, Remco de Bree, Avraham Eisbruch, William M. Mendenhall, Robert Smee, Alfio Ferlito

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Electrochemotherapy (ECT) is a local ablative treatment that is based on the reversible electroporation and intracellular accumulation of hydrophilic drug molecules, which greatly increases their cytotoxicity. In mucosal head and neck cancer (HNC), experience with ECT is limited due to the poor accessibility of tumors. In order to review the experience with ECT in mucosal HNC, we undertook a systematic review of the literature. In 22 articles, published between 1998 and 2020, 16 studies with 164 patients were described. Curative and palliative intent treatment were given to 36 (22%) and 128 patients (78%), respectively. The majority of tumors were squamous cell carcinomas (79.3%) and located in the oral cavity (62.8%). In the curative intent group, complete response after one ECT treatment was achieved in 80.5% of the patients, and in the palliative intent group, the objective (complete and partial) response rate was 73.1% (31.2% and 41.9%). No serious adverse events were reported during or soon after ECT and late effects were rare (19 events in 17 patients). The quality-of-life assessments did not show a significant deterioration at 12 months post-ECT. Provided these preliminary data are confirmed in randomized controlled trials, ECT may be an interesting treatment option in selected patients with HNC not amenable to standard local treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1254
Number of pages15
JournalCancers
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Electrochemotherapy
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Systematic review

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