A recent Phase I clinical trial reported encouraging survival data with respect to the use of maximal cytoreduction combined with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) using pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD)(e.g., Doxil™) to treat patients with advanced intra-abdominal, gastrointestinal and gynecological malignancies.
HIPEC is used in conjunction with surgery and chemotherapy to treat patients with gastrointestinal tract and gynecological cancers and sarcomas that have spread to the lining of the abdomen. Even after surgical removal, cancer often recurs in the abdomen. So when the tumor spreads, it is difficult for doctors to treat with standard chemotherapy.
HIPEC involves using a using a heated sterile solution that is circulated throughout the abdominal cavity. With HIPEC treatment, patients are connected to a series of tubes and a pumping device that bathes the abdominal cavity for two hours with a heated sterile solution containing anticancer (chemotherapeutic) drugs. The high temperature of the chemotherapy increases the effect of the drug. The fluid goes through the abdomen to treat tumor cells that may remain after surgery. Both heat and direct contact with chemotherapy drugs kills the cancer cells.
Twenty-one patients were enrolled in this Phase I clinical trial. The maximum PLD dose evaluated in this trial was 100 mg/m² and was well tolerated. The most common grade 3/4 complications were superficial wound infection and prolonged ileus. One patient developed an anastomotic leak in the postoperative period, requiring re-exploration. The length of the median postoperative hospital stay was 7 days (range, 4-29 days), three patients required readmissions within 30 days, and there were no operative deaths.
The median follow-up time for was 13.7 months (range, 3-38 months). The median overall survival was 30.6 months with a median progression free survival (PFS) of 25 months. Based on these findings, the trial investigators concluded that HIPEC with PLD following maximal cytoreduction in patients with advanced abdominal-only, gastrointestinal or gynecologic malignancies is well tolerated. Moreover, the investigators stated that the encouraging survival period after cytoreduction and HIPEC with PLD suggests that a verification Phase II clinical trial is warranted.
- Phase I trial of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy in patients undergoing cytoreduction for advanced intra-abdominal malignancy; Harrison, L.E. et. al., Ann. Surg. Oncol. 2008 May;15(5):1407-13.]
- Surgical Oncology – Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy, Greenebaum Cancer Center, The University of Maryland Website, March 12, 2008.
- HIPEC Illustration: ThermaSolutions.com.