ELECTROCHEMOTHERAPY TO METASTATIC SPINAL MELANOMA: A NOVEL TREATMENT OF SPINAL METASTASIS? Gasbarrini, Campos, Campanacci, et. Spine. 2015 Aug.
Electrochemotherapy is a new antitumor treatment that combines systemic bleomycin with electric pulses delivered locally at the tumor site. These electric pulses permeabilize cell membranes in the tissue, allow bleomycin delivery diffusion inside the cells, and increase bleomycin cytotoxicity. Previous clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Electrochemotherapy in the treatment of several primary and metastatic solid tumors.
Treatment planning for electrode positioning and electrical pulse parameters was prepared for four needle electrodes. Mini-open surgery with a left L5 laminectomy was performed to introduce the eletrodes.
The assessed follow-up period was 48 months after the Electrochemotherapy procedure. Neither serious Electrochemotherapy-related adverse events, nor bleomycin toxicity were reported. Overall improvement in pain, ODI [level of disability] and KPS [performance] outcomes was better.
Our case represents, to our knowledge, the first one to test the potential role of Electrochemotherapy as treatment of spinal metastasis. Electrochemotherapy allowed a successful treatment of metastatic spinal melanoma. However, we believe that there is a strong scientific rationale to support the potential utility of Electrochemotherapy as a novel treatment of spinal metastasis, regardless of the histological types.
Super new. No impact on or survival data included. Don't know where it is offered in the US. Melanoma doesn't usually respond to "normal" chemo. But in this treatment methodology...zapping the tumor with electrodes first seems to make them more responsive to the chemotherapy....that was then administered systemically. (Wonder why they didn't try a local injection???) Reminds me a bit of the ADC therapy J tried where nasty ass chemo was linked to a monoclonal antibody that (in theory) would be drawn into the tumor cells only. Once there, the chemo would be unleashed. Here's a post on that one: ADC's - Antibody Drug Conjugate
Unfortunately, while ADC therapy held tumors in check for some...there was pretty substantial chemo leakage that led to typical chemo side effects: hair loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, neuropathy, etc.
So...don't know if you could even access this treatment, Artie....but it is one of the ways folks are trying to make old time chemo work for melanoma patients. Warm wishes to you all - C