What is HIPEC?
Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a highly concentrated, heated chemotherapy treatment that is delivered directly to the abdomen during surgery.
Unlike systemic chemotherapy delivery, which circulates throughout the body, HIPEC delivers chemotherapy directly to cancer cells in the abdomen. This allows for higher doses of chemotherapy treatment. Heating the solution may also improve the absorption of chemotherapy drugs by tumors and destroy microscopic cancer cells that remain in the abdomen after surgery.
How it works
Before patients receive HIPEC treatment, doctors perform cytoreductive surgery to remove visible tumors within the abdomen. Cytoreductive surgery is accomplished using various surgical techniques. Once as many tumors as possible have been removed, the heated, sterilized chemotherapy solution is delivered to the abdomen to penetrate and destroy remaining cancer cells. The solution is 41 to 42 degrees Celsius, about the temperature of a warm bath. It’s circulated throughout the abdomen for approximately 1 ½ hours. The solution is then drained from the abdomen and the incision is closed.
HIPEC is a treatment option for people who have advanced surface spread of cancer within the abdomen, without disease involvement outside of the abdomen.
Advantages of HIPEC
- Allows for high doses of chemotherapy
- Enhances and concentrates chemotherapy within the abdomen
- Minimizes the rest of the body’s exposure to the chemotherapy
- Improves chemotherapy absorption and susceptibility of cancer cells
- Reduces some chemotherapy side effects
Meet our team of HIPEC experts
Our Centers for Peritoneal Surface Malignancies offer cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC for advanced stage abdominal cancers, including appendiceal (appendix) cancer, colorectal cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and stomach cancer.
Our HIPEC experts are surgical oncologists who have several years of experience in performing complex and advanced surgical procedures. They work with a multispecialty team that includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and radiologists. The team offers each patient a comprehensive and personalized cancer treatment plan. Patients' care teams also include clinical oncology dietitians, pain management clinicians, naturopathic oncology providers, mind-body therapists, physical therapists and spiritual counselors to help patients manage treatment side effects and improve quality of life.
Learn about our HIPEC experts:
Referring physicians: To refer a patient or for assistance in determining if your patient is a candidate for HIPEC, please contact Lisa White at 215-537-5944.
HIPEC for colorectal cancer
HIPEC may be particularly helpful for colorectal cancer patients with abdominal tumors that have not spread to organs such as the liver or lungs, or to lymph nodes outside of the abdominal cavity.
Together, the cytoreductive surgery and delivery of the heated chemotherapy solution require six to eight hours to perform. After a six-week recovery period, HIPEC patients receive traditional, systemic chemotherapy.