The recurrence of malignant tumors in surgical wounds continues to be a problem. Although there is no doubt that in some cases this is the result of incomplete primary excision, there is a great deal of evidence that in many instances the growth originated from free cancer cells contaminating the wound of an otherwise adequate operation.
The idea that these cells might be destroyed by chemical means is not at all new, and as long ago as 1896, Lack,1 appreciating the parallel with bacterial contamination, recommended the use of Lister's carbolic solution for this purpose. Since then a variety of alternative solutions have been suggested, although in most cases the expectation of their efficacy was based on theoretical argument rather than experimental evidence.
Of recent years there have been several attempts to select a suitable compound on the basis of experimentation with animal tumors.2-4,7,10 In particular McDonald, Gines,
McKIBBIN B, GAZET J, HOPPE E, SCHWAB C. Chemical Irrigation of Wounds Inoculated With Cancer Cells. Arch Surg. 1963;87(5):877-880. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1963.01310170163028