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Calcium Electroporation for Head and Neck Cancer

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT03051269
Recruitment Status : Unknown
Verified February 2017 by Irene Wessel, Rigshospitalet, Denmark.
Recruitment status was:  Recruiting
First Posted : February 13, 2017
Last Update Posted : February 13, 2017
Herlev Hospital
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Irene Wessel, Rigshospitalet, Denmark

Brief Summary:
In a phase I protocol to primarily investigate the safety of using calcium combined with electroporation on recurrent head and neck cancers. Secondly, to evaluate tumour response on PET/MRI (positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging), clinical evaluation, biopsies. Thirdly, to evaluate the effect of calcium electroporation compared to electrochemotherapy as well as the patients life-of-quality through questionnaires, EORTC QLQ C-30 and H&N35 (european organisation for research and treatment of cancer).

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Head Neck Cancer Drug: Calcium chloride Device: Electroporation Phase 1

Detailed Description:

Calcium electroporation. Electroporation is a technique that facilitates the transport of molecules across the cell membrane by using electric pulses. The electric field applied to the cell membrane creates a temporary destabilization. As the electric capacity of the membrane is exceeded, cracks are formed in the membrane and the molecules are free to diffuse into the cytosol of the cell. The process is reversible and the cell membrane is stabilized in a matter of minutes. While the cell membrane is permeable there is an increased influx of Ca2+ into the cell. Calcium influx may be further improved by combining calcium together with electroporation; this is called calcium electroporation.

In vivo studies have shown that when enhancing the extracellular calcium concentration before applying electroporation, a larger Ca2+ influx occurs. The large Ca2+ influx can lead to a reduction in ATP (adenosine triphosphate) levels and cell death. A fall in ATP levels is seen for two reasons: First, an increase in intracellular Ca2+ leads to a higher activity of the Ca2+-ATPase and Na+/K+-ATPase. Secondly, the high concentration of Ca2+ leads to loss of the electrochemical gradient in the mitochondrial membrane, which causes mitochondrial collapse. Upon collapse of the mitochondria, the cell can no longer produce ATP. Overall, the increased consumption and decreased production of ATP leads to lover ATP levels. Combined with other cellular processes such as activation of lipases and proteases, the cell will eventually die.

Trials objectives.

  1. Primary outcome. Evaluating the safety measures of using calcium electroporation on mucosal head and neck cancer. This is done by continuously evaluating pain by VAS-score (visual analogue scale) and side effects by Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) registration into Adverse Events (AE) and Serious Adverse Events (SAE). The safety of using calcium intratumourally is also evaluated by measurement of Ca2+ in blood samples after treatment.
  2. Secondary outcome. Evaluation of response by imaging: PET-MRI, Clinical photography, Biopsies from tumour site The subjects subjective evaluation of the treatment and post treatment period is evaluated through Quality of life questionnaires, EORTC QLQ-C30 and H&N35: two different questionnaires both validated for head and neck cancer patients.
  3. Tertiary outcome. The response to treatment will be compared to the results from our current trial, where we use electrochemotherapy on mucosal head and neck tumours. The comparison will be between imaging response, VAS score and results from questionnaires (EORTC QLQ-C30 and H&N35).

Trial design. This is a phase I, interventional, clinical trial for the safety of calcium electroporation on mucosal head and neck tumours. Subjects will have relapsed or primary head and neck cancer. Treatment is intended as palliative and not curative. All subjects will be offered standard treatment with surgery and radiotherapy before enrolment to the trial, if possible. There is no scheduled control group, meaning that all eligible patients will be offered treatment.

Electroporation and anaesthesia. The treatment is performed under general anaesthesia because the localization of head and neck tumours complicates treatment under local anaesthetic. After the patient is anaesthetized, the tumour area will be injected with calcium. After administration of calcium electrodes are inserted into the tumour and electrical pulses are generated and documented using a Cliniporator (IGEA, Capri, Italy). Overall operating time/anaesthesia time will be 1-2 hours and expected hospital stay of 3 days. Treatment is intended as a once-only treatment but measurable response on evaluation scans combined with continued cancer activity in the treated area can result in another treatment session.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 6 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Calcium Electroporation for Head and Neck Cancer
Study Start Date : May 2016
Estimated Primary Completion Date : December 2018
Estimated Study Completion Date : February 2019

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: calcium chloride
Only one arm. All 6 enrolled patients are treated with calcium electroporation.
Drug: Calcium chloride
Tumour site is injected with a solution of 9 mg/ml calcium chloride and afterwards the tumour site is given electroporation to facilitate calcium to enter the cell cytosol.
Other Name: Calcium

Device: Electroporation
Performed by single use electrodes attaches to a device called "Cliniporator" provided from IGEA, ITALY.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Treatment-Emergent Adverse Events [Safety and Tolerability] [ Time Frame: CTCAE are evaluated at several timepoints: 1) Baseline (before treatment). 2) 30 minutes and 6 hours after treatment. 3) Once at day 1, 2 and 3 after treatment. 4) 1 week after treatment. 5) 2 weeks after treatment. 6) 1 and 2 months after treatment. ]
    Evaluated by change in CTCAE (common terminology criteria for adverse events) at different timepoints.

  2. Change in Treatment-Emergent Adverse Events [Safety and Tolerability] [ Time Frame: Blood samples evaluating calcium levels are taken at 1) Baseline. 2) 30 min after treatment. 3) 6 hours after treatment. 4) At day 1, 2, and 3 after treatment. ]
    Evaluated by change in calcium levels in blood samples at different time points.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Tumour response [ Time Frame: PET/MRI are performed at baseline and evaluated again at 1 and 2 months after treatment. ]
    By PET/MRI imaging

  2. Tumour response [ Time Frame: Clinical evaluation is performed daily in the first 3 days post-treatment, again at week 1 and 2, and 1 and 2 months post-treatment. ]
    By clinical evaluation.

  3. Tumour response [ Time Frame: Biopsies are performed at baseline and again at 1 and 2 months after treatment. ]
    By biopsies.

  4. Comparing calcium electroporation to electrochemotherapy [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    The tumor response on MRI from calcium electroporation is compared to the tumor response on MRI from a previous study on a similar patient group treated with electrochemotherapy.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Subject age > 18 years.
  2. Verified cancer in the head and neck region of any histology.
  3. At least one tumour lesion should be accessible for electroporation.
  4. Performance status WHO <= 2.
  5. Progressive and/or metastatic disease.
  6. Expected survival of > 3 months.
  7. A treatment-free interval of more than 4 weeks since chemotherapy or radiation therapy of the treatment area.
  8. The subject should have been offered the current standard treatment. If there is no further standard treatment to offer or if the subject does not want to receive the treatments offered, the subject may be included in the trial.
  9. The subject should be able to understand the information for participants and be willing and able to comply with hospitalization and the agreed follow-up visits and tests.
  10. Platelets ≥ 50 billion/L, INR(international normalized ratio)> 1.5. Medical correction is allowed, e.g. correction of a high INR using vitamin K.
  11. Sexually active men and women who can become pregnant must use adequate contraception during this trial (pill, spiral, injection of prolonged progestin, subdermal implantation, hormone-containing vaginal devices, transdermal patches).
  12. Signed informed consent.


Exclusion Criteria:

Patients should be excluded if they meet just one of the criteria stated below:

  1. Symptomatic progression of the subject's cancer disease that requires another intervention.
  2. Allergy to constituents of the planned anesthesia.
  3. Coagulation disorder that cannot be corrected.
  4. Chronic renal dysfunction with creatinine> 200 mmol/L will trigger a Cr-51-EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) clearance.
  5. Pregnancy or lactation.
  6. If participating in other clinical trials involving experimental drugs or involved in a trial within 4 weeks prior to study drug administration.
  7. Other disorders investigator finds incompatible with participation in the trial.


Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT03051269

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Contact: Irene Wessel, MD +45 35 45 83 22
Contact: Christina C Plaschke, MD +45 29 25 92 45

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital Recruiting
Copenhagen, Denmark, 2100
Contact: Christina C. Plaschke, MD    +45 29 25 92 45   
Contact: Irene Wessel, MD    +45 35 45 83 22   
Sponsors and Collaborators
Rigshospitalet, Denmark
Herlev Hospital
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Principal Investigator: Irene Wessel Rigshospitalet, Dept. of Head and Neck Surgery, Copenhagen, Denmark
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Responsible Party: Irene Wessel, Consultant, Rigshospitalet, Denmark Identifier: NCT03051269    
Other Study ID Numbers: HC1511
First Posted: February 13, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: February 13, 2017
Last Verified: February 2017
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No
Keywords provided by Irene Wessel, Rigshospitalet, Denmark:
Head and Neck cancer
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Head and Neck Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Calcium, Dietary
Calcium-Regulating Hormones and Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Bone Density Conservation Agents