Adding Heat To Kill Tumors

Ann found the following in a newsletter called First Report July 2000. She is still searching for the specific issue of Lancet (a British journal) that it appeared in.

If a Dutch study is correct, there may be a way to make radiation therapy directed at pelvic tumors more effective. That's by adding hyperthermia to the treatment regimen. In this case by raising the temperature of the tumor to 104 to 113 degrees Farenheit.

Pelvic tumors - which include those of the bladder, rectum and cervix - tend to spread rapidly. But stepping up the conventional treatment by using hyperthermia appears to kill the dividing cell, leading to BETTER SURVIVAL RATES. (Ann's emphasis).

The Dutch researchers, who described their study in The Lancet , randomly assigned 358 patients with bladder, cervical or rectal cancer to either radiation alone or radiation in combination with hyperthermia. Those in the hyperthermia group received treatment weekly for five weeks; the hyperthermia sessions, which lasted 90 minutes, took place within four hours after radiation therapy. A probe was inserted to heat the tumor.

Patients who had received the combination therapy did much better than the radiation-alone group: 55% of the tumors treated with the combination therapy were completely eradicated, compared to 39% in the radiation-alone group. The best results were observed in women with cervical tumors: 83% of tumors exposed to the combination therapy disappeared, compared with 57% treated with radiation alone.

These results led the investigators to endorse the combination approach for cervical tumors, but they hesitate to recommend it just yet for other pelvic tumors.

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