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Skin Cancer 2019: Small Study of Electrochemotherapy for Basal Cell Carcinomas in the Head and Neck Region

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Key Points

  • Complete response was achieved in all 13 cases in the periocular localization.
  • Lower eyelid ectropion developed in 3 patients, which had to be corrected surgically.

Increasing evidence is emerging about the effectiveness of electrochemotherapy in the treatment of basal cell carcinomas in the head and neck region. A study presented by Kis et al at the World Congress on Advanced Treatments and Technologies in Skin Cancer (Skin Cancer 2019) (Poster Board 6) aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment with electrochemotherapy for locally advanced primary and recurrent eyelid-periocular basal cell carcinomas.

According to a report by Pichi et al in ACTA Otorhinolaryngologica Italica, electrochemotherapy “is a well-established treatment for cutaneous tumors consisting in the combination of electroporation and chemotherapy. Electroporation has been studied for approximately 20 years as a means of facilitating the transport of normally nonpermeant molecules into cells. By applying an electric field to the cells, the membrane become[s] permeable, allowing chemotherapeutic agents … to enter the cell, increasing its toxicity.”

Electrochemotherapy Methods

A total of 13 patients with basal cell carcinoma involving the eyelid-periocular region were treated with electrochemotherapy. Of these patients, 10 with recurrent tumors and 3 with primary tumors were treated; 8 patients had additional extraorbital tumors.

All treatments were performed according to the ESOPE guidelines, using the CLINIPORATOR device for electroporation and electrochemotherapy. All patients received bleomycin-based electrochemotherapy. The route of administration was intratumoral in 3 patients and intravenous in 10 patients. Tumor response was evaluated using the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1.

Study Findings

The median follow-up time was 12 months. A complete response was achieved in all 13 cases in the periocular localization, whereas in the case of 1 patient, a partial response was achieved on the nose. Lower eyelid ectropion developed in 3 patients, which had to be corrected surgically.

The researchers concluded, “Electrochemotherapy can be used effectively in the treatment of locally advanced or recurrent basal cell carcinomas in the eyelid-periocular region. Excellent tumor control can be achieved with good functional and cosmetic results without systemic side effects.”

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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