Hyperthermia, the artificial elevation of body temperature to 39-43°C, has been used as adjunctive cancer therapy for decades, particularly in Europe and North America, with promising results. A 2008 review reported an increase of complete response rates of up to 40-50%, improved quality of life and survival rates in patients receiving hyperthermia in addition to chemotherapy or radiotherapy compared to an average of 15% complete in response rates without hyperthermia.
To evaluate responsiveness to regional hyperthermia therapy in a cohort of cancer patients at an integrative medical clinic in Melbourne.
We followed a cohort of cancer patients, who had been treated with radiofrequency regional hyperthermia, receiving at least 8 sessions (1 cycle) of regional hyperthermia at 39-41°C for 60-85 min over 1-2 months (2-3 treatments/week), in conjunction with other therapies, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and intravenous-high-dose-Vitamin-C, as overseen by their treating doctors.
From June 2012 until May 2014, 52 cancer patients received 8-64 (mean= 13.5) hyperthermia treatments in conjunction with other therapies. Patients presented with advanced stage primary pancreatic (n=5), prostate (n=8), breast (n=8), colorectal (n=5), lung (n=5), and other cancer types, as confirmed by histo-pathological reports. At time of abstract submission, 45 patients (87%) had provided follow-up reports, 62% (n=28) of these patients were with stable disease or in remission. All patients tolerated the hyperthermia treatment well. Combination therapy of regional hyperthermia in conjunction with chemotherapy appeared particularly promising for pancreatic cancer treatment, whereby four of our five patients were stable (n=2) or in partial remission (n=2), after receiving multiple hyperthermia cycles (24-64 treatments) in conjunction with chemotherapy over a 10-18 month period.
Hyperthermia as adjunctive cancer therapy is generally tolerated well, and seems to have the potential to improve response rates and quality of life. Adjunctive regional hyperthermia appears particularly promising for pancreatic cancer therapy.