HIPEC for peritoneal and ovarian cancer

HIPEC for peritoneal and ovarian cancer
Hyperthermic Intra-Peritoneal Chemotherapy, or HIPEC, is a treatment for advanced abdominal cancers. Not for everyone, it is extremely invasive but according to data over the last decade in America, it seems to work. When you are having surgery to remove all the visible tumours in your peritoneum, it can be followed by using heated chemotherapy to mop up any localized cancer cells and, according to the journal Cancer Medicine, this can be very successful. This is also called Cytoreductive Surgery, or CRS.

High doses of chemo are used but they are usually washed out after about 90 minutes. The whole treatment including surgery can take 10-18 hours. Roswell Park Medical Centre have been using the treatment successfully since 2005. Survival times clearly increase.

It can be used with any cancer involving the peritoneum or that has spread to the peritoneum, so peritoneal cancer or colorectal, mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, for example.

Chris Woollams, a founder of CANCERactive and former Oxford University Biochemist said, “We are encouraged by this treatment and we hope the UK takes it on board. Many women with ovarian cancer could benefit. All too often the ladies concerned have lots of chemo and a massive operation, only to find the cancer reappears in their peritoneum just months later. Then there seems little they can do.”

More than 1 out of 3 patients with stage IV colon cancer treated with HIPEC survived for at least five years. In some cases of peritoneal cancer (which usually has a low 5-year survival), there was absolutely no recurrence. 

Says Woollams, “The downside in America is the expense; In the UK, there is limited use at the moment."

The study(1)  was funded in part by the National Cancer Institute and involved researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Center at Buffalo, the University of Michigan, Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto.

A second study (2) involving ovarian cancer patients, showed no diminution in survival, and an average increase of 12 months. The study published Jan 17th 2018, was led by Dr. Willemien van Driel, an oncological surgeon, and Dr. Ignace De Hingh President of the Dutch Peritoneal Oncology Group was a co-author. He commented that the study marked a big step forward in the treatment of ovarian cancer patients.



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