Background: Electrochemotherapy is a novel treatment for cutaneous and subcutaneous tumors utilizing the combination of electroporation and chemotherapeutic agents. Since tumors have an increasing incidence nowadays as a result of environmental and genetic factors, electrochemotherapy could be a promising treatment for cancer patients.
Objective: The aim of this article is to summarize the novel knowledge about the use of electroporation for antitumor treatments and to present a new application of electrochemotherapy with a well-known plant derived antitumor drug betulinic acid. For the review we have searched the databases of scientific and medical research to collect the available publications about the use of electrochemotherapy in the treatment of various types of cancer.
Method: By the utilization of the available knowledge, we investigated the effect of electroporation on the penetration of a topically applied betulinic acid formulation into the skin by ex vivo Raman spectroscopy on hairless mouse skin.
Results: Raman measurements have demonstrated that the penetration depth of betulinic acid can be remarkably ameliorated by the use of electroporation, so this protocol can be a possibility for the treatment of deeper localized cancer nodules. Furthermore, it proved the influence of various treatment times, since they caused different spatial distributions of the drug in the skin.
Conclusion: The review demonstrates that electrochemotherapy is a promising tool to treat different kinds of tumors with high efficiency and with only a few moderate adverse effects. Moreover, it presents a non-invasive method to enhance the penetration of antitumor agents, which can offer novel prospects for antitumor therapies.