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How we do it: Chemo-electroporation in the head and neck for otherwise untreatable patients


Remco de Bree, MD, PhD, Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, VU University Medical Centre, De Boelelaan 1117, PO Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Tel.: +31 20 444 3690; fax: +31 20 444 3688; e-mail:


• Chemo-electroporation therapy with bleomycin is a locoregional treatment modality for head and neck and skin cancer, with the potential to preserve function.

• In our institution, chemo-electroporation therapy is used for patients that can no longer be treated by surgery or radiotherapy, or for whom surgical treatment would be very extensive and thus declined by the patient.

• This paper describes in detail the technique of bleomycin-electroporation therapy. The literature is reviewed and preliminary results of the clinical trial are presented.

• The main focus of the trial is to determine the safety, effectiveness, and burden of bleomycin-electroporation therapy for the patient.

• All 17 tumours responded to therapy. Local tumour control was reached in 14 of the 17 (82.4 %) tumours.

• Based on the outcome of the clinical trial, bleomycin-electroporation therapy has the potential to become a valuable addition to the late-stage treatment options for patients with head and neck or skin tumours.

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