HIPEC is a highly concentrated chemotherapy treatment that is administered directly into the abdomen during surgery. It is also known as hot chemotherapy, chemo-bath, heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy, intraperitoneal chemo-hyperthermia, or continuous hyperthermic peritoneal perfusion, etc. It delivers the chemotherapy drugs directly to the cancer cells in the abdomen. Heating the solution may improve the absorption of chemotherapy drugs by tumours and destroy the microscopic cells that might remain in the abdomen post the surgery. It is performed after the removal of tumours or lesions from the abdomen.
How does it work?
Before giving the HIPEC treatment, the patient may undergo cytoreductive surgery for the removal of cancer cells or tumour from the abdomen. The drug solution is heated to 41 to 42°C, about the temperature of a warm bath. Once the surgery is completed; the heated, sterilized chemotherapy solution is delivered to the abdomen to penetrate and destroy the remaining cancer cells. Then the solution is drained from the abdomen, and the incision is closed.
This therapy is commonly used for people who have an advanced surface spread of cancer within the abdomen.
Which type of cancers can be treated with HIPEC?
HIPEC is used to treat cancers that have spread to the surface lining of the abdomen and are difficult to treat. HIPEC is ideally administered during the surgical excision of abdominal tumours caused by different cancers like:
- Pseudomyxoma peritone is a rare type of cancer of the appendix. It manifests as a small growth, called a polyp. Rarely, it starts in the other parts of the bowel, the ovary, or the bladder.
- Mucinous adenocarcinoma of the appendix is a type of cancer that affects the cells lining the appendix.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma is a benign or malignant tumour affects the lining of the abdominal cavity.
- Low-Grade Sarcoma affects the transformed cells of mesenchymal origin.
- Desmoplastic small round cell tumour is an aggressive tumour that typically begins in the abdomen or pelvis.
- Ovarian Cancer
- Gastric Cancer
- Colorectal carcinoma
What are the benefits of HIPEC?
The benefits of HIPEC re the following:
- Allows high doses of chemotherapy
- Enhances and concentrates the chemotherapy within the abdomen
- Minimizes the exposure of non cancerous area to the chemotherapy
- Improves chemotherapy susceptibility and absorption by cancer cells
- Reduces some of the chemotherapy side effects
- Reduces the need for regular chemotherapy
What are the complications of HIPEC?
Like other chemotherapy treatments, HIPEC also has some complications. Complications due to HIPEC may occur in 30 % patients. Some complications are specific to HIPEC, and they include:
- Fluid accumulation in the pleural cavity around the lungs
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Irregularities in the heart rhythm
HIPEC is an innovative method of delivering chemotherapy. It delivers the drug into the abdomen, unlike other traditional chemotherapy treatments that deliver the drug intravenously, and thus, it is a good option for cancers that originate in or have spread to the abdominal cavity.