Electrochemotherapy (ECT) combines two methods, electroporation and chemotherapy. ECT is used in tumour treatment. Non-permeant or low-permeant active substances with intracellular targets, such as cytotoxic drugs, can be delivered into the interior of the cells via electroporation.
Locally applied intense electric pulses increase the membrane permeability of tumour cells for a short time. Molecules of the applied chemotherapeutic drug can diffuse into the tumour cells and unfold their tumour-destroying effect from the inside.
Electrochemotherapy (ECT) is a procedure used during the local treatment of skin metastases. Skin metastases are caused by the spreading of tumour cells via the bloodstream.
When applying electrochemotherapy in combination with a chemotherapeutic agent, a significantly lower dosage of the agent needs to be applied in order to achieve a similar anti-tumour effect as compared to chemotherapy without ECT.
In Germany this procedure is included in the medical guidelines for treatment of melanoma.