Hyperthermia  In Gyn Cancers

Hyperthermia Overcomes Platinum Resistance in Ovarian Cancer

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) Jul 12 - The addition of whole body hyperthermia to carboplatin can induce beneficial clinical responses in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, according to a report in the June issue of the European Journal of Cancer.

In laboratory, animal and pilot human studies, hyperthermia has been shown to enhance the cytotoxic effects of carboplatin without increasing its toxicity to normal cells, the authors explain.

Dr. H. Ian Robins, from the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, and colleagues, therefore, conducted a phase I study of hyperthermia and carboplatin in 16 pretreated women with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

Patients received a mean 3.14 treatment courses separated by 4 weeks, each course consisting of a 20-minute carboplatin infusion beginning 20 minutes after induction of hyperthermia to a temperature of approximately 41.8C (about 107F), the authors explain.

Among the 14 evaluable patients, there was 1 complete response, 4 partial responses, and 4 cases of stable disease, the results indicate. This translates into a response rate of nearly 36%.

Toxicity from carboplatin was not excessive, the researchers note, with hematologic and gastrointestinal side effects predominating.

Whole-body hyperthermia-related toxicity included four episodes of mucosal herpes reactivation, two episodes of low-grade fever persisting for 24 hours, and one episode of unresponsiveness that resolved suddenly and spontaneously 6 hours after the hyperthermia session, the report indicates.

The authors conclude, "these data provide putative clinical evidence showing that hyperthermia can overcome platinum resistance in ovarian cancer. We believe this trial provides a basis for further clinical exploration of this multimodal approach."

Dr. Robins told Reuters Health that he would expect similar beneficial responses to hyperthermia in patients with other platinum-resistant tumors.

Dr. Robins also suggested that there might be benefits to using hyperthermia even in those patients whose cancers appear to be platinum-sensitive by enhancing the therapeutic index.

Eur J Cancer 2001;37:1111-1117.


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