• nanosecond;
  • pulsed electric fields;
  • apoptosis;
  • necrosis;
  • skin cancer


We have identified a new, nanosecond pulsed electric field (nsPEF) therapy capable of eliminating murine melanomas located in the skin with a single treatment. When these optimized parameters are used, nsPEFs initiate apoptosis without hyperthermia. We have developed new suction electrodes that are compatible with human skin and have applied them to a xenograft nude mouse melanoma model system to identify the optimal field strength, pulse frequency and pulse number for the treatment of murine melanomas. A single treatment using the optimal pulse parameters (2,000 pulses, 100 ns in duration, 30 kV/cm in amplitude at a pulse frequency of 5–7 pulses/sec) eliminated all 17 melanomas treated with those parameters in 4 mice. This was the highest pulse frequency that we could use without raising the treated skin tumor temperature above 40°C. We also demonstrate that the effects of nsPEF therapy are highly localized to only cells located between electrodes and results in very little scarring of the nsPEF-treated skin.