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Pancreatic cancer treatment with hyperthermia therapy was a subject of keen interest at the International Congress on Hyperthermic Oncology (ICHO) in Munich, Germany, this month, as researchers in different parts of the world reported their independent results in this effort.
While the use of hyperthermia therapy in treating some other forms of cancer has been heavily researched, little has been known about the potential of the therapy in treating pancreatic cancer patients, a cancer for which better treatment is urgently needed.
BSD Medical Corporation are reporting highlights from 204 papers presented at ICHO, including The Verona Study, in which evaluated 46 pancreatic cancer patients between 2000 and 2006 in a study conducted by the Department of Radiotherapy of the University of Verona in Italy.
Patients were divided into group A, receiving chemotherapy and hyperthermia plus radiation, and group B, receiving chemotherapy and radiation without hyperthermia.
At 24 months, 36% were still alive in group A, compared to 19% in group B.
The study concluded that hyperthermia is a promising therapeutic modality in the treatment of locally advanced pancreatic cancer, that it does not increase acute or late toxicity of combined treatment, and that it seems to enhance the efficacy of both chemotherapy plus radiation and chemotherapy alone with metastatic disease, as 5 patients with distant metastases were included in group A.
A separate study from the University of Munich, reported results after treating 22 pancreatic patients in a very difficult stage of the disease (19 metastatic and 3 with locally advanced pancreatic cancer).
Using a combination of gemcitabine plus cisplatin as their chemotherapy drugs combined with hyperthermia therapy, the treatment reached their target for improvement, and based on these data a randomised first-line phase III clinical trial has been initiated.
Another study, conducted at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan, was a retrospective analysis of patients with advanced inoperable pancreatic cancer who were treated with the sequential combination of chemotherapy (gemcitabine) plus hyperthermia therapy between 2004 and 2007.
The study concluded that this combination therapy could be a potential first-line treatment for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.
ICHO is the combined meeting of the European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology (ESHO), the US Society of Thermal Medicine (STM) and the Asian Society for Hyperthermic Oncology (ASHO).