BACKGROUND: Peritoneal carcinomatosis is a stage of gynecological and gastrointestinal malignancies with poor prognosis. Options for enhancing the effect of standard chemotherapy, such as aggressive surgery and intraperitoneal chemotherapy, have limitations. In this phase I/II study, we evaluated regional hyperthermia of the pelvis and abdomen using the annular-phased-array technique as an adjunct to chemotherapy.
METHODS: Forty-five patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis (with or without liver metastases) in colorectal cancer (CRC) (n = 16), ovarian cancer (OC) (n = 17), or gastric/pancreatic/biliary cancer (n = 12) underwent standard chemotherapy and regional hyperthermia. Most CRC patients received second-line chemotherapy. All OC patients were platinum resistant. Regional hyperthermia was applied using a SIGMA-60 applicator (OC), a SIGMA-Eye/MR applicator (CRC), or various ring applicators (gastric/pancreatic/biliary cancer).
RESULTS: Abdominal regional hyperthermia was well tolerated, with acceptable acute discomfort and no long-term morbidity. The SIGMA-Eye/MR applicator achieved higher systemic temperatures (associated with higher systemic stress) and more effective heating of the upper abdomen; the SIGMA-60 applicator achieved higher temperatures (and power densities) in the pelvis. Three-year overall survival was encouraging for patients with CRC (22%) and OC (29%) but not gastric/pancreatic/biliary cancer. For the SIGMA-60 applicator (patients with OC), higher measured temperatures at the vaginal stump correlated with better outcome. CONCLUSIONS. The SIGMA-60 and SIGMA-Eye/MR applicators are feasible for abdominal heating and have low toxicity. The SIGMA-60 applicator is specifically suitable for malignancies with high pelvic burden; the SIGMA-Eye/MR applicator better heats the upper abdomen, including the liver. Further randomized investigations are warranted.