A Brief History of Hyperthermia in Cancer Treatment
The history of the use of hyperthermia cancer treatment has been reasonably well documented. Reported by de Kizowitz (France) in 1779 were the effects of fever from malaria infection on malignant tumors. In 1866 Busch (Germany) documented witnessing remission of a sarcoma of the face, following high fevers in a patient with erysipelas.
At the end of the nineteenth century, William Coley, a surgeon from New York Memorial Cancer Hospital induced hyperthermia in cancer patients. He developed the “Coley toxin”, a mixed bacterial culture. It was the first specialized bacterial antitumor pyrogen. Coley toxin induced high fever, when it was released into the blood.
Twentieth century brought first experiments with localization of hyperthermia. Using galvanocautery in patients with carcinoma of the cervix and uterus, Byrne reported good responses. For example, he observed that cancer cells were more sensitive to heat than normal tissues. These findings received support from others. Hot water immersion was another technique. Its main application was to achieve either local hyperthermia of the extremities, or whole-body hyperthermia for disseminated disease.
Modern Days of Hyperthermia in Cancer Treatment
After 1950, the modern period of hyperthermia development as a separate treatment modality had started. Period from 1950 to 1965 could be characterized as a “concentration stage”. That period brought the first isolated attempts of hyperthermia use and research. Consequently, the research on this subject matter rose gradually.
There was a general feeling that hyperthermia as an independent cancer treatment is technically challenging. Also it offered mostly temporary or marginal outcomes. Numerous studies have shown that cancer cells are preferentially sensitive to heat. In modern days hyperthermia is being used in combination with chemotherapy, including Regional Chemotherapy, and radiotherapy to target malignant disease.
(M.R. Habib & D.L. Morris; K.R. Aigner, F.O. Stephens (eds.), Induction Chemotherapy, 2016.)
The following treatment enhancing procedures are available in combination with Regional Chemotherapy treatments:
- Deep hyperthermia
- Whole-body hyperthermia
1. Deep hyperthermia cancer treatment
To use deep hyperthermia in cancer treatment, the temperature of the tumour region has to be raised above 43°C. Ultimately, the thermal damage causes direct destruction of the tumor tissue.
2. Whole-body hyperthermia cancer treatment
For this procedure, the entire body is warmed in a specialized hyperthermia bed. The body needs to attain the temperature of 38 to 39°C. As a result of the raised temperature, the blood circulation in the tumour increases due to expansion of the tumour vessels. Increased circulation improves the blood supply to the tumour. Consequently, when blood supply increases, more cytostatic agent can reach the tumor site. There the tumor tissue absorbs the cytostatic agent. Therefore, this effect allows to achieve an improved response during regional chemotherapy with mild hyperthermia treatment.