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Keywords:

  • nanoelectropulse therapy;
  • pancreatic cancer;
  • basal cell carcinoma

Abstract

When delivered to cells, very short duration, high electric field pulses (nanoelectropulses) induce primarily intracellular events. We present evidence that this emerging modality may have a role as a local cancer therapy. Five hematologic and 16 solid tumor cell lines were pulsed in vitro. Hematologic cells proved particularly sensitive to nanoelectropulses, with more than a 60% decrease in viable cells measured by MTT assay 96 hr after pulsing in 4 of 5 cell lines. In solid tumor cell lines, 10 out of 16 cell lines had more than a 10% decrease in viable cells. AsPC-1, a pancreatic cancer cell line, demonstrated the greatest in vitro sensitivity among solid tumor cell lines, with a 64% decrease in viable cells. When nanoelectropulse therapy was applied to AsPC-1 tumors in athymic nude mice, responses were seen in 4 of 6 tumors, including clinical complete responses in 3 of 6 animals. A single human subject applied nanoelectropulse therapy to his own basal cell carcinoma and had a complete pathologic response. In summary, we demonstrate that electric pulses 20 ns or less kill a wide variety of human cancer cells in vitro, induce tumor regression in vivo, and show efficacy in a single human patient. Therefore, nanoelectropulse therapy deserves further study as a potentially effective cancer therapy. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.