A technique that delivers high doses of hyperthermic chemotherapy directly into the peritoneal cavity is a promising treatment for certain stage IV cancer patients. Hyperthermia intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) kills cancer cells left in the abdomen after surgical removal of the tumor. The prospects for patients with advanced cancer are promising because it provides targeted concentrations of chemotherapy and has fewer side effects compared to conventional chemotherapy.
Many of the patients who come to my clinic are given a few months to live. These treatments can significantly extend the survival of patients with peritoneal metastases and even cure some of these stage IV cancers. ”
Kiran Turaga, MD, MPH, Chief of Surgical Oncology, Smilow Cancer Hospital and Assistant Medical Director, Clinical Trials Office, Yale Cancer Center
What is HIPEC surgery?
HIPEC has two main components. The first is surgery to remove the lining of the peritoneum or abdomen where the cancer has spread. Towards the end of surgery, chemotherapy drugs heated to 108 degrees are injected into the patient’s abdominal cavity for about 90 minutes to kill any remaining microscopic cancer cells.
The chemotherapy is then drained and the incision closed. Patients treated with this treatment stay in the hospital for about 5 days and take another 6 weeks to recover. Treatment of Abdominal Cancer HIPEC can be used to treat several types of metastatic or stage IV cancer in the abdominal cavity, including:
- Colorectal cancer
- ovarian cancer
- stomach cancer
- appendix cancer
Patients eligible for HIPEC have only one surgery. However, it can be used with other cancer treatments, such as immunotherapy.
“It’s always been a multidisciplinary team. We work with oncologists, palliative care physicians, gastroenterologists, radiologists, nutritionists, oncology nurses and researchers. are working together to care for these patients,” said Dr. Turaga.
Need for targeted chemotherapy
Smilow Cancer Hospital is now the leading HIPEC provider in Connecticut, and Dr. Turaga says it will bring much-needed surgery to the region. Many patients suffer from advanced abdominal cancer for which there are no adequate treatment options and, unfortunately, colon cancer incidence is increasing among younger patients. The American Cancer Society estimates he will have more than 106,000 new cases of colon cancer this year alone.
Although success rates vary by cancer type, the outlook is promising. For example, Dr. Turaga says many people with appendiceal cancer can live another 20 years after receiving treatment.
Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital