In 2003, a new type of chemotherapy was introduced to the medical community that is designed to treat peritoneal malignancies, or cancerous tissue in a person’s abdominal region.  This new chemotherapy is referred to as Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) and has been found to be an effective treatment against peritoneal mesothelioma.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

In the U.S., peritoneal mesothelioma cases account for about 10 to 20 percent of the two to three thousand reported cases of mesothelioma each year. 

Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the abdomen, in the cells that form the peritoneum. The peritoneum is a membranous layer that provides support and protection for abdominal organs and the abdominal cavity as a whole.

Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy

HIPEC is administered in a very different manner than traditional chemotherapy methods.

  • First, the patient has the majority of the malignant tissue surgically removed from their abdomen
  • Immediately following the surgical removal of the malignant tissue, the surgeon continuously circulates a heated sterile solution containing a chemotherapeutic agent throughout the peritoneal cavity, for a maximum of two hours
  • The intention of circulating the chemotherapeutic agent into the peritoneal cavity is that it will kill any remaining cancer cells left over after the bulk of the malignancies are removed

Advantages of Heated Chemotherapy

Giving the chemotherapy directly into the abdomen at the time of surgery allows for greater concentrations of the drug where it is needed.  Adding heat has a threefold advantage:

  • Heat at 42 degrees Celsius kills cancer cells while not affecting normal cells.
  • Heat makes the killing effect of the chemotherapy more powerful.
  • Heat softens the tumor nodules so the penetration of the chemotherapy into the tumor is enhanced.

Eligibility for Heated Chemo Treatments

HIPEC is only intended for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma and other abdominal cancers. Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma of the pleura or pericardium will not benefit from the procedure.  Patients should discuss treatment options extensively with their doctor before determining whether this is a good option.

For more information about heated chemo and other mesothelioma treatments, please contact Mesothelioma Treatment Centers today.