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Intraoperative versus postoperative electrochemotherapy in high grade soft tissue sarcomas: a preliminary study in a spontaneous feline model

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Feline soft tissue sarcomas are spontaneous, rapidly growing, and aggressive neoplasms that mimic their human counterpart. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of electrochemotherapy (ECT) in an adjuvant fashion for the treatment of feline sarcomas, and the possibility of repeated treatments in the case of recurrence. Cats with fibrosarcoma (FSA) were assigned to receive surgery or surgery plus ECT. Feline patients recruited in the ECT study were enrolled in a microscopic arm (39 patients) or a macroscopic arm (19 patients) on the basis of their tumor status (absence or presence of gross disease). Patients received local injection of bleomycin followed by bursts of eight biphasic pulses at a voltage of 1,300 V/cm for postoperative and of 800 V/cm for intraoperative treatments. The median time to recurrence was 4 months for cats treated with surgery alone, 19 months for the postoperative cohort, and 12 months for the intraoperative group. Moreover, ten patients with recurring neoplasms were retreated and experienced responses lasting 6 to 28+ months. Side effects were minimal. Of interest, the metastatic rate (1.7%) in our patients was negligible: only one cat had distant spread. The results suggest that ECT is a well tolerated and potentially useful addition to surgery in controlling high-grade sarcomas. On the basis of these results, additional evaluations are warranted in pets and in humans.

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  1. Bleomicina solfato, 15 UI vial; Aventis Pharma S.p.A., Milano, Italy.

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This work has been supported by “Grant 2004” of the Italian Ministry of Health to E.P.S. and G.C., and by a FUTURA-onlus Grant and a Second University of Naples Grant to A.B. The authors are in debt with the Centre of Biomedical Engineering of Sofia for providing the Chemopulse electroporator. The authors thank Giancarlo Cortese, Giuseppe Bertini and Piero Piccoli for technical assistance. The authors wish to thank the staff of Zoospedale Flaminio for the help provided during the study.

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Correspondence to Enrico P. Spugnini.

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Partially presented at the 22nd annual conference of the Veterinary Cancer Society, New York, NY, September 2002.

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Spugnini, E.P., Baldi, A., Vincenzi, B. et al. Intraoperative versus postoperative electrochemotherapy in high grade soft tissue sarcomas: a preliminary study in a spontaneous feline model. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 59, 375–381 (2007).

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