Hiromasa Tanaka, Sander Bekeschus, Dayun Yan, Masaru Hori, Michael Keidar, Mounir Laroussi

Cold physical plasma is a partially ionized gas generating various reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) simultaneously. ROS/RNS have therapeutic effects when applied to cells and tissues either directly from the plasma or via exposure to solutions that have been treated beforehand using plasma processes. This review addresses the challenges and opportunities of plasma-treated solutions (PTSs) for cancer treatment. These PTSs include plasma-treated cell culture media in experimental research as well as clinically approved solutions such as saline and Ringer’s lactate, which, in principle, already qualify for testing in therapeutic settings. Several types of cancers were found to succumb to the toxic action of PTSs, suggesting a broad mechanism of action based on the tumor-toxic activity of ROS/RNS stored in these solutions. Moreover, it is indicated that the PTS has immuno-stimulatory properties. Two different routes of application are currently envisaged in the clinical setting. One is direct injection into the bulk tumor, and the other is lavage in patients suffering from peritoneal carcinomatosis adjuvant to standard chemotherapy. While many promising results have been achieved so far, several obstacles, such as the standardized generation of large volumes of sterile PTS, remain to be addressed.