Effects than the Conventional
the incidence of cancer is intensitying
the number of patients treated with chemotherapy is constantly increasing. This increase is due to the
recommendation of chemo, in addition to other treatments or alone, by most
oncologists. But chemotherapy side effects are still
feared, and the effectiveness in sucessfully treating most cancers is still slim.
In fact, the word chemotherapy horrifies
certain patients who have experience the adverse reactions of the therapy: nausea, vomiting, hair loss,
anemia, and others. The good news: a recent
method, electrochemotherapy, allows
in some cases to escape most side effects, while providing the same or even better results.
What is the
As the name suggests,
a combination of chemotherapy and use of electrical pulses directly to the cancer
cells. This is a new approach but seems very
Chemotherapy is the fact
of using chemical
substances known as anti-cancer drugs to destroy or stop the growth of cancer cells. Once injected into the body, the medications damage the DNA of the malignant cells,
thus preventing them from reproducing. The cancer cells then end up dying; therefore, the tumor regresses.
But most of the times the malignant cells are not really fetally damaged by the drugs. They continue to
reproduce and migrate to other parts of the body, leading to serious stage of the disease called mestastatic
A more effective approach that can prevent chemoresistance and kill the cancer cells
would be necessary. In case of non-mestatic cancer where the cancerous cells are very localized,
electro-chemotherapy can be used. This will make the treatment more effective and, above all, to significantly reduce
the side effects. Electrochemotherapyis an effective
mean to overcome chemoresistanceand
treat chemoresistantcancers. In
addition, the procedure is not
binding; patients leave the hospital the same day.
also an ideal weapon against metastatic cancers. When metastases recur, the therapy may be prescribed again
and again. The patient can undergo therapy up to
Electrochemotherapy was first used about two decades ago.
It was used in 1991 at the Institute Gustave Roussy, France, for the first time, along with
bleomycin. And then in 1995 at the Institute of
Oncology, Ljubljana, Slovenia, electrochemotherapy was used with cisplatin. The results were so encouraging that
other health professionals all over the world have adopted it. As for today, it is estimated that more than 4000
patients have been treated with electrochemotherapy worldwide.
But the therapy has some drawbacks. Generally, electrochemotherapy
is mostly recomemnded to treat older or frail people who have resistance to
conventional chemotherapy or who have not underwent surgery. It currently limited to cutaneous and
subcutaneous metastases, although studies are in progress to use it in the treatment of breast cancer as well as bone cancer metastases in the liver. In addition, there is not enough machine of its kind to treat all cancer
patients that are qualified for it.
side effects are much fewer than those of chemotherapy. In fact, in most cases it almost causes no adverse
rections besides perhaps a burning sensation and a slight fever. Studies have shown that this technique
was well tolerated by cancer patients.