Results of four separate studies are being presented at the Society of Oncology Surgeons national meeting March 3-5 in Atlanta.
The types of cancer reported at the meeting that have been treated with a combination of surgery and intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemotherapy (IPHC) are tumors of the abdominal cavity that have spread from the appendix, small bowel and advanced ovarian cancer.
The technique is also useful for tumors that have spread from the colon, rectum, stomach as well as well as mesothelioma of the abdominal cavity.
Peritoneal cancer -- cancer of the lining of the abdominal wall -- is a very common cause of death in patients with cancers in the abdomen. Surgery alone has proven to have limited effectiveness, as has radiation therapy and systemic chemotherapy. These new studies show that the combination of surgery and IPHC improves overall survival and quality of life in these selected patients.
"Patients with peritoneal cancer that has spread from the small bowel represent both a unique diagnostic and treatment challenge," said Perry Shen, M.D., assistant professor of surgical oncology and lead author of one of the studies. Attempts to treat this cancer with systemic chemotherapy and conventional surgery have not been successful.
The patients in this study had a mean survival of 45.1 months, compared to 3.1 months for patients who received only traditional treatment.
"While further study is needed on the effects of surgery and IPHC with other treatments," said Shen, "the data from this study suggest that this combination seems to be an effective and attractive option in a very difficult situation."