New treatment options for some difficult cancers improve survival and quality of life

March 05, 2005

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have shown that surgery combined with inserting heated chemotherapy drugs directly into the abdomen can improve survival rates and quality of life in patients with several cancers that historically have a poor prognosis.

Results of four separate studies are being presented at the Society of Oncology Surgeons national meeting March 3-5 in Atlanta.

The types of cancer reported at the meeting that have been treated with a combination of surgery and intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemotherapy (IPHC) are tumors of the abdominal cavity that have spread from the appendix, small bowel and advanced ovarian cancer.

The technique is also useful for tumors that have spread from the colon, rectum, stomach as well as well as mesothelioma of the abdominal cavity.

Peritoneal cancer -- cancer of the lining of the abdominal wall -- is a very common cause of death in patients with cancers in the abdomen. Surgery alone has proven to have limited effectiveness, as has radiation therapy and systemic chemotherapy. These new studies show that the combination of surgery and IPHC improves overall survival and quality of life in these selected patients.

"Patients with peritoneal cancer that has spread from the small bowel represent both a unique diagnostic and treatment challenge," said Perry Shen, M.D., assistant professor of surgical oncology and lead author of one of the studies. Attempts to treat this cancer with systemic chemotherapy and conventional surgery have not been successful.

The patients in this study had a mean survival of 45.1 months, compared to 3.1 months for patients who received only traditional treatment.

"While further study is needed on the effects of surgery and IPHC with other treatments," said Shen, "the data from this study suggest that this combination seems to be an effective and attractive option in a very difficult situation."

In a study of patients with tumors in the abdominal cavity which have spread from tumors of the appendix, data from John Stewart, M.D., instructor in surgery, show that long-term survival is anticipated in the majority of patients with low grade tumors who are treated with surgery and IPHC. High grade lesions result in significantly lower survival rates even with this treatment. High grade and low grade refer to the stage of malignancy.

A study of patients with advanced ovarian cancer showed that it is responsive to a combination of surgery and IPHC. The treatment plan could also include systemic chemotherapy. Additional IPHC treatment was feasible during subsequent reassessment surgery.

"Surgery combined with IPHC seems to be a life extending and enhancing treatment option for patients with some of the most difficult cancers," said Edward Levine, MD, professor and head of surgical oncology at Wake Forest Baptist. The positive results of these studies support the need for further evaluation of the use of IPHC and surgery in the treatment of other metastatic cancers of the abdomen.
-end-
Media Contacts: Jonnie Rohrer, jrohrer@wfubmc.edu, 336-716-6972; Shannon Koontz, shkoontz@wfubmc.edu, or Karen Richardson, krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu, at 336-716-4587.

About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. It is licensed to operate 1,282 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" by U.S. News & World Report.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.