Palliative Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer

  • Christian Seebauer
  • Hans-Robert Metelmann
  • Katherina Witzke
  • Jean-Michel Pouvesle


Cold atmospheric pressure plasma (CAP) is clinically known for inactivating microbial pathogens and stimulation of tissue regeneration in chronic wounds. Several authors have reported the effectiveness against cancer in different cell lines and animal models as well. There are first reports of patients with real clinical benefit following application of CAP, mostly in terms of palliation, but some of them with not only visible change of the tumor surface but lasting partial tumor remission.

These patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx suffering from open infected ulcerations had been treated with a jet plasma source (kINPen® MED, neoplas tools GmbH, Greifswald, Germany) to inactivate the microbial pathogens causing odor and pain. The palliative therapy program included repeated cycles of three single applications (1 min/cm2 from a distance of 8 mm) within 1 week, each followed by an intermittence of 1 week. CAP treatment resulted in most of the patients in a significant reduction of odor and of pain medication requirements, an improvement in social function and a positive emotional affect. In two patients further observance revealed partial tumor remission for at least 9 month beyond palliation. Incisional biopsies at remission demonstrate a moderate amount of apoptotic tumor cells and a desmoplastic reaction of the connective tissue.


Oropharynx cancer Palliation Reduction of odor Pain relief Tumor shrinking Partial tumor remission Desmoplasia Apoptosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Seebauer
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hans-Robert Metelmann
    • 1
    • 3
  • Katherina Witzke
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jean-Michel Pouvesle
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Plastic SurgeryUniversity Medicine GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and TechnologyGreifswaldGermany
  3. 3.National Center of Plasma MedicineBerlinGermany
  4. 4.GREMIOrleansFrance

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