Calcium electroporation in three cell lines

a comparison of bleomycin and calcium, calcium compounds, and pulsing conditions

Stine Krog Frandsen a, Hanne Gissel b, Pernille Hojman c, Jens Eriksena, d, Julie Gehl a,⁎



Background: Electroporation with calcium (calcium electroporation) can induce ATP depletion-associated cellular
death. In the clinical setting, the cytotoxic drug bleomycin is currently used with electroporation (electrochemotherapy) for palliative treatment of tumors. Calcium electroporation offers several advantages
over standard treatment options: calciumis inexpensive and may readily be applied without special precautions,
as is the case with cytostatic drugs. Therefore, details on the use of calcium electroporation are essential for
carrying out clinical trials comparing calcium electroporation and electrochemotherapy.
Methods: The effects of calcium electroporation and bleomycin electroporation (alone or in combination) were
compared in three different cell lines (DC-3F, transformed Chinese hamster lung fibroblast; K-562, human leukemia; and murine Lewis Lung Carcinoma). Furthermore, the effects of electrical pulsing parameters and calcium
compound on treatment efficacy were determined.


Electroporation with either calcium or bleomycin significantly reduced cell survival (p b 0.0001),
without evidence of a synergistic effect. Cellular death following calcium or bleomycin treatment occurred at
similar applied voltages, suggesting that similar parameters should be applied. At equimolar concentrations,
calcium chloride and calcium glubionate resulted in comparable decreases in cell viability.


Calcium electroporation and bleomycin electroporation significantly reduce cell survival at similar
applied voltage parameters. The effect of calcium electroporation is independent of calcium compound.
General significance: This study strongly supports the use of calcium electroporation as a potential cancer therapy
and the results may aid in future clinical trials.



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