Hyperthermia and peritoneal carcinomatosis

Peritoneal carcinomatosis is one of the most difficult situations in patients with advanced tumors of the abdominal cavity. It consists on the extension of the tumoral disease through peritoneal surfaces that cover internally the abdominal wall, organs and bowells inside the abdomen. These tumors take the shape of small nuts or big masses placed between internal structures and around vessels. They are difficult to treat because of this specific location and its extension.

Deep local hyperthermia is a non-invasive and disruptive technique that can be used to treat malignancies. Hyperthermia has the following objectives:
1. Obtain cytorreduction of the tumor burden
2. Increase penetration of the oncologic treatments into the tumor
3. Generate a favorable immune response against the tumor mediated by lymphocytes.

Hyperthermia therapy is of particular use in cases where circulation and oxygenation in the tumor tissue already are poor, i.e. in the presence of hypoxia. Or in cases where the chemotherapy or radiation treatment needs an effective amplifier because it has to be administered in low doses to protect the surrounding tissue. Even in cases of relapse, hyperthermia is a helpful and considerate partner because the previously treated body areas have already been affected. A growing number of studies and research projects on hyperthermia have been initiated in past years with good results. In several European countries Medical oncologists and Radiation oncologists quite naturally make greater use of hyperthermia as a complementary and relevant component in the cancer treatment canon.

Digestive tumors are one of the most favorable to receive treatment for hyperthermia because of its particular anatomic locations. Tumors placed in abdominal deep locations or between vessels and bowels are sometimes difficult to reach because oncological treatments may harm those tissues. Advanced or metastatic gastrointestinal tumors with peritoneal carcinomatosis follow this rule.

In these cases, Deep Local Hyperthermia helps favoring the penetration of the oncologic treatments to this difficult locations, destroying tumor tissues without harming normal tissues and assisting the immune response to collaborate in the elimination of the malignant disease.

by J. Vidal-Jové, director

by J. Vidal-Jové, director