Information for the public

Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that although there is evidence to say that this procedure is safe, there is not much good evidence about how well it works. The 8 studies that NICE looked at involved a total of 394 patients.


  • Most tumours disappeared completely, between 12 weeks and a year after the procedure.

  • In 1 study, the tumours came back in 16 patients out of 113, between 2 and 6 months after the procedure.

  • The procedure did not affect the eye or facial nerve in 6 patients who had tumours near their eye or facial nerve.

  • These 6 patients said they found the look of the treated area 'very satisfactory'.

The studies showed that the risks of electrochemotherapy included:

  • Muscle contractions or feeling a 'jolt' during treatment, which stopped when the electric pulses were stopped.

  • Slight burning of the skin, which healed within 8 weeks.

  • Redness and swelling 3 days after the procedure.

  • Some patients who had treatment in the corner of their eye had increased tear production that stopped within 2 months.

  • Pain described as 'moderate' (treated with paracetamol and diclofenac) for 5–7 days).

  • Slight nausea and allergic reactions caused by the chemotherapy drug.

If you want to know more about the studies see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard