Heated Chemotherapy Treatment Targets Abdominal Cancer Cells

Published On 11/14/2012

Doctors at UT Medical Group, Inc. have introduced a new chemotherapy treatment that limits side effects and targets cancer cells when administered after surgery for advanced abdominal cancers. UTMG is thought to be the only practice in west Tennessee offering the new procedure, called Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy.

“Studies have shown that performing this type of chemotherapy after surgery is more effective than surgery alone in treating these types of advanced abdominal cancers,” said Dr. Gitonga Munene, who recently performed the region’s first HIPEC treatment at Methodist University Hospital.

Munene, a UT Medical Group surgical oncologist and assistant professor of surgery at the UT Health Science Center, said doctors are able to give a much higher chemotherapy dose in a shorter period of time with fewer side effects because the procedure applies the solution only to the site of the cancer rather than spreading it throughout the entire body, as is done with intravenous chemotherapy.

Before administering the chemotherapy treatment, doctors surgically remove all visible tumors from the abdominal area. They then bathe the abdominal cavity with a heated chemotherapy solution for about one hour to kill any remaining cancer cells. The entire procedure can take up to 16 hours.

“The high temperature not only destroys cancer cells, it also makes the tumors absorb the chemotherapy solution better. The combination is a welcome treatment option for many types of abdominal cancers, including cancer of the appendix, mesothelioma, and colorectal and ovarian cancers,” said Munene.

Watch a Healthcast video on HIPEC