BACKGROUND: Cutaneous metastases can cause distressing symptoms and be challenging to treat. Local therapies are essential in management. Calcium electroporation uses calcium and electrical pulses to selectively kill cancer cells. This multicentre study aimed to define response in cutaneous metastases across different cancer types.
METHODS: Patients with tumours ≤3 cm of any histology were included (stable or progressing on current therapy ≥2 months), at three centres. Tumours were treated with 220 mM calcium chloride injection and manual application of eight 0.1 ms pulses with 1 kV/cm and 1Hz with a handheld electrode, in local or general anaesthesia. Clinical response was evaluated after 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 12 months. Primary endpoint was response at two months. The overall response rate (ORR) was partial- and complete responses of treated tumours. MR-imaging and qualitative interviews were performed in respective subsets.
RESULTS: Nineteen patients with disseminated cancer (breast n = 4, lung n = 5, pancreatic n = 1, colorectal n = 2, gastric n = 1, and endometrial cancer n = 1) were enrolled, and 58 metastases were treated (50 once, 8 retreated). The ORR was 36% (95% CI 22-53) after two months. Best ORR was 51% (CR 42%; PR 9%). Previous irradiation improved outcomes (p = 0.0004). Adverse events were minimal. Median pain score was reduced after two months (p = 0.017). Treatment may relieve symptoms according to qualitative interviews. MRI showed restriction in treated tissue.
CONCLUSION: The majority of tumours were treated only once with calcium electroporation, achieving an ORR of 36% after two months and best ORR of 51%. Efficacy, symptom-relief and safety support calcium electroporation as a palliative treatment option for cutaneous metastases.
Research Areas and Centers
- Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)
- Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)