Electrochemotherapy for the palliative management of cutaneous metastases: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Josephine Morley*, Patricia Grocott, Edward Purssell, Trevor Murrells

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Electrochemotherapy combines electroporation in conjunction with chemotherapeutic agents and is used to treat tumours in many localisations, including cutaneous metastases. The symptoms associated with cutaneous malignant wounds can be distressing for patients and their management is a challenge in healthcare. Aim: The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the effectiveness of electrochemotherapy in the context of palliative care. Design: All aspects of the systematic review were followed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. Data sources: The following databases were searched for English-language reviews; Medline, Embase, CINAHL, British Nursing Index and the Cochrane Library. The search was conducted between the publication of Standard Operating Procedures in 2006 and the third week of October 2017. Studies involving oral cancers and studies with fewer than 10 patients were excluded. The selected studies were assessed for risk of bias and sub-group data were synthesised in a random-effects meta-analysis. Results: From 425 studies, 29 studies were included involving 1503 patients, the pooled results were 46.6% for complete response and 82.2% for objective response according to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours. The meta-analysis indicated that small tumours were over twice as likely (2.25) to have a complete response than large. Conclusions: Electrochemotherapy is an effective, repeatable and minimally invasive intervention within the palliative population that can reduce symptom burden. This review is an update of previous systematic reviews by Mali et al. [1,2] and highlights the need for tailored treatment depending on each individual case.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2257-2267
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number12
Early online date2 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Electrochemotherapy
  • Meta-analysis
  • Palliative care
  • Skin neoplasms
  • Treatment outcome


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