ECT in veterinary oncology. State of the Art and Perspectives.

From the magazine: Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 2019.


Tumor microenvironment represents a key obstacle for the effectiveness of anticancer drugs. Electrochemotherapy involves the systemic or local delivery of lipophobic drugs such as bleomycin and cisplatin, with the application of permeabilizing electric pulses having appropriate amplitude and waveforms. This greatly enhances the uptake of these drugs by an estimated factor of 700-fold for bleomycin and 4 to 8 times for cisplatin. Because of its efficacy and limited morbidity, this therapeutic option is becoming more and more available in veterinary oncology either as an adjuvant to surgery or as first line of treatment with palliative or curative purposes.


  • The cell membrane is the major obstacle to be overcome by chemotherapy agents in order
    to reach their biological targets. This is especially true for lipophobic agents like
  • Electroporation is a technique that greatly increases the uptake of such drugs by tumors.
    The combination of permeabilizing pulses and chemotherapy is called electrochemotherapy (ECT).
  • ECT has been successfully used in combination with bleomycin and cisplatin to treat solid
    tumors such as carcinoma, sarcoma, and hematologic malignancies such as mast cell
  • Novel applications include the treatment of visceral tumors under ultrasonographic guidance and the delivery of molecular compounds such as oligonucleotides, plasmids, and
    small proteins.

Spugnini EP1Baldi A2.

Keywords: Biphasic pulses – Bleomycin – Carcinoma – Cisplatin – Electroporation – Mast cell tumor – Pets – Sarcoma

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