Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy for Advanced or Recurrent Gastrointestinal and Gynecologic Cancers

Also known as hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy or HIPEC

Defining HIPEC

Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a cancer treatment that involves delivering heated chemotherapy drugs to an affected area. When combined with cytoreductive surgery (CRS/removing all visible signs of cancer), HIPEC can improve outcomes for patients with advanced, complex and recurrent abdominal and primary peritoneal cancers and select ovarian cancers

HIPEC is a surgical procedure that begins with removing all visible tumors from the abdomen. HIPEC then delivers heated chemotherapy directly inside the abdomen to help destroy any microscopic cancer cells and tumors that cannot be seen by the surgeon. The heated chemotherapy circulates inside the abdomen, which allows it to reach more of the internal surface area. The goal of HIPEC is to prevent cancer cells from growing into new tumors and allowing the cancer to return.

Treating advanced cancers

HIPEC is used to treat advanced cases of cancer and recurrent cancer, including cancers of the:

  • Appendix
  • Fallopian tube
  • Colon
  • Mesothelioma
  • Ovary
  • Primary peritoneal
  • Rectum
  • Stomach

Unlike systemic chemotherapy that is administered intravenously, HIPEC delivers chemotherapy directly into the abdomen. This allows for higher doses of chemotherapy treatment to target microscopic cells that traditional chemotherapy may miss. Depending on the type of disease being treated, HIPEC can be combined with systemic chemotherapy.

Advantages of HIPEC

Studies show that offering HIPEC as part of a multidisciplinary treatment approach at a high-volume center improves patient outcomes. The largest randomized study to date demonstrated a doubling in survival among patients with colorectal cancer who had the procedure when compared to patients who had standard chemotherapy alone. In gynecologic patients, the addition of HIPEC with internal cytoreductive surgery resulted in longer recurrence-free survival and overall survival.

Specifically, the advantages of HIPEC include:

  • Allows for a higher concentration of chemotherapy to be delivered into the abdomen.
  • Kills microscopic cancer cells too small to be seen with the naked eye.
  • Pairing surgery and HIPEC together may be more beneficial than chemotherapy alone.
  • HIPEC is a one-time treatment that is administered under anesthesia during cytoreductive surgery.

HIPEC at The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Currently, HIPEC is offered at specialized cancer centers such as The University of Kansas Cancer Center, an NCI-designated cancer center. The procedure requires extensive resources, including surgical oncologists and gynecologic surgeons who are specifically trained to do the procedure safely. Our surgical oncologists and gynecologic surgeons perform a high volume of these very complex procedures.

The University of Kansas Cancer Center is the region's only NCI-designated cancer center, which provides our patients with more options and access to more clinical trials.

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