Cancer of the GYN

Hyperthermia for cervical cancerStudies have shown a 24% improvement in 3 years overall survival for the cervical cancer patients treated with hyperthermia and radiation therapy (5).

Gynecologic cancers often involve the uterus, ovaries, cervix, vulva, vagina, fallopian tubes, or, usually secondarily, the peritoneum. The most common gynecologic cancer in the US is endometrial cancer, followed by ovarian cancer.

Cervical cancer is not very common in developed countries because Papanicolaou (Pap) test screening is widely available and effective. Gestational trophoblastic disease is a gynecologic tumor that may behave aggressively whether malignant or not. Many gynecologic cancers manifest as pelvic masses.

Worldwide, cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in women. Cervical cancers start in the cells on the surface of the cervix. There are two types of cells on the cervix’s surface: squamous and columnar. Most cervical cancers are from squamous cells. Hyperthermia is a very effective treatment against cervical cancer when it is combined with radiation. One study (3) showed an 89% improvement in 3 years overall survival for the patients treated with hyperthermia and radiation therapy.

Researchers at the University of Rotterdam published a study (Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Mar 15;(4) in which patients with cervical carcinoma who were treated with or without hyperthermia were observed over a period of twelve years. The study showed that only 20% of those who had received radiation therapy alone survived; however, 37% of the women who also received hyperthermia survived. This highly significant result showed for the first time that the advantage of hyperthermia was not limited to a short period of time, but rather had long-term effectiveness.

In April 2000 the LANCET published the 3-year survival follow-up data for advanced cervical cancer patients in the study, showing a 51% survival rate for patients who received radiation plus hyperthermia therapy, as opposed to 27% of those who received radiation therapy alone (LANCET vol. 355, pp. 1119-1125). According to the recent report at the ESHO conference, after 12 years the survival rate for the patients who received radiation plus hyperthermia therapy was 37%, as compared to a survival rate of 20% for patients who received radiation alone (p=0.03). One of the primary concerns about the viability of new therapies is their durability. According to this study, the margin of increased survival rate was reported to be approximately the same at 12 years (an 85% increase) as it was at 3 years (an 89% increase) for patients who received hyperthermia therapy in addition to radiation treatments.

(5) The Lancet. Apr1, 355 (9210), 1119-25,2000.