Last updated on February 2018

Electrochemotherapy on Head and Neck Cancer


Brief description of study

A phase II clinical trial testing electrochemotherapy on mucosal recurrent head and neck cancer. Twenty-five patients will be treated. Primary outcome is tumour response on imaging. Secondary outcomes are response from tissue samples, VAS score, Quality of life evaluation and side effects to treatment.

Detailed Study Description

Electric pulses may be used to transiently permeabilise cell membranes, enabling passage of otherwise non-permeating molecules. This dramatically enhances the cytotoxic effect of certain chemotherapeutic agents, and is termed electrochemotherapy. Electrochemotherapy is now standardly used in the treatment of cutaneous metastases of various cancers in over 100 cancer centers around Europe.

The intention of this trial is to investigate the possible use of electrochemotherapy in recurrent head and neck cancer as a palliative treatment. Surgery and radiotherapy, with the possible addition of chemotherapy, cures a large part of patients with head and neck cancer. However, in the event of recurrence curative options may be exhausted and the patient is referred for palliative chemotherapy.

It is for this patient group, the investigators propose electrochemotherapy in a clinical trial.

The electrochemotherapy is administered as a once-only treatment, with possible retreatment after eight weeks. Under general anesthesia, chemotherapy is administered intravenously, followed by application of electric pulses to the tumour area. Before treatment, the location and spread of the tumour is determined by imaging.

The trial includes evaluation of response by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography - Computed Tomography) scans (base-line, 4 weeks, 8 weeks), tissue samples, as well as adverse events registration and questionnaires on quality of life. The planned study is a phase II clinical study, prospective, observational with up to 25 patients.

Treatments will be performed in collaboration between the Department of Oncology, Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev, which has extensive experience in electrochemotherapy, and the Department of Ear Nose and Throat Surgery at Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, that has the surgical expertise and set-up needed.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02549742

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