Conclusion: Based on our data it appears that PEMF-based anticancer strategies may represent a new therapeutic approach to treat breast cancer without affecting normal tissues in a manner that is non-invasive and can be potentially combined with existing anti-cancer treatments.
Introduction: A common drawback of many anticancer therapies is non-specificity in action of killing. We investigated the potential of ultra-low intensity and frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) to kill breast cancer cells. Our criteria to accept this technology as a potentially valid therapeutic approach were: 1) cytotoxicity to breast cancer cells and; 2) that the designed fields proved innocuous to healthy cell classes that would be exposed to the PEMFs during clinical treatment.
Methods: MCF7 breast cancer cells and their normal counterparts, MCF10 cells, were exposed to PEMFs and cytotoxic indices measured in order to design PEMF paradigms that best kill breast cancer cells. The PEMF parameters tested were: 1) frequencies ranging from 20 to 50 Hz; 2) intensities ranging from 2 mT to 5 mT and; 3) exposure durations ranging from 30 to 90 minutes per day for up to three days to determine the optimum parameters for selective cancer cell killing.
Results: We observed a discrete window of vulnerability of MCF7 cells to PEMFs of 20 Hz frequency, 3 mT magnitude and exposure duration of 60 minutes per day. The cell damage accrued in response to PEMFs increased with time and gained significance after three days of consecutive daily exposure. By contrast, the PEMFs parameters determined to be most cytotoxic to breast cancer MCF-7 cells were not damaging to normal MCF-10 cells.
Mechanisms and therapeutic effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in oncology
PEMFs exert selective cytotoxic effect on neoplastic cells 15, 40, 53, 54, 55 making this therapy a highly promising strategy.
PEMF therapy has been extensively studied in vitro using various human cancer cell lines, such as pheochromocytoma‐derived (PC12), breast cancer (e.g., MCF7, MDA‐MB‐231 and T47D), and colon cancer (SW‐480 and HCT‐116) 41, 42, 43, 44, 45. These studies have shown that PEMF therapy may exert proliferative inhibition and mitotic spindle disruption 18, 40, block the development of neovascularization required for tumor supply 46, 47, 48 and exacerbate an inherent or induced genetic instability by reducing the stringency of the late‐cycle (G2) checkpoint 49. While chemotherapy is not specific to cancer cells and targets all rapidly dividing cells 50, 51, 52, PEMFs exert selective cytotoxic effect on neoplastic cells 15, 40, 53, 54, 55 making this therapy a highly promising strategy.
..pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy presents several potential advantages including non‐invasiveness, safety, lack of toxicity for non‐cancerous cells, and the possibility of being combined with other available therapies. Indeed, PEMF stimulation has already been used in the context of various cancer types including skin, breast, prostate, hepatocellular, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, bladder, thyroid, and colon cancer in vitro and in vivo.