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HIPEC for soft tissue sarcoma

Video: What is HIPEC?

Dr. Charles Komen Brown, a surgical oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, discusses Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC). He explains how this treatment can be used in conjunction with surgery to treat abdominal cancers.

HIPEC videos

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:

Samuel Bieligk, MD, FACS
Surgical Oncologist
Southwestern Regional Medical Center (Tulsa)


Dr. Bieligk earned a medical degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. He completed a general surgery residency and a research fellowship at Tulane University School of Medicine, and a surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Read Dr. Bieligk's full bio
Charles Komen Brown, MD, PhD
National Director of HIPEC,
Medical Director of Surgery & Surgical Oncologist
Midwestern Regional Medical Center (suburban Chicago)


Dr. Brown earned a medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine. He completed a general surgery residency at the University of Arizona affiliated hospitals, as well as fellowships in biological therapy for cancer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and in surgical oncology at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Read Dr. Brown's full bio
Jesus Esquivel, MD, FACS
Medical Director of International Oncology Initiatives &
National Director for HIPEC Research
Eastern Regional Medical Center (Philadelphia)


Dr. Esquivel completed a gastrointestinal surgical oncology fellowship under Dr. Paul Sugarbaker, the founder of the HIPEC procedure. He earned a medical degree from the Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas in Mexico. He completed a surgical internship at Washington Hospital Center, followed by a general surgery residency at The New York Hospital of Queens.
Read Dr. Esquivel’s full bio
Rod Flynn, MD
Director of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Treatment/HIPEC Program &
Surgical Oncologist
Eastern Regional Medical Center (Philadelphia)


Dr. Flynn earned a medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He completed a general surgery internship at Allegheny University hospitals, a general surgery residency at Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia and a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Read Dr. Flynn's full bio
Harold Huss, DO
Surgical Oncologist
Midwestern Regional Medical Center (suburban Chicago)


Dr. Huss earned an osteopathic medical degree from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University. He completed a general surgery internship and residency at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center and a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Read Dr. Huss' full bio
David Litvak, MD
National Director of Surgical Oncology & Perioperative Services,
Chief of Staff & Surgical Oncologist
Western Regional Medical Center (suburban Phoenix)


Dr. Litvak earned a medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed a surgical internship and residency at the University of California, Davis-East Bay, a research fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch and a surgical oncology fellowship at John Wayne Cancer Institute.
Read Dr. Litvak's full bio
Juan Sanabria, MD, MSc, FACS
Surgical Oncologist
Midwestern Regional Medical Center (suburban Chicago)


Dr. Sanabria earned a medical degree from Our Lady of the Rosary University in Colombia. He completed a surgical residency at Toronto General and Mount Sinai Hospitals, followed by a fellowship in abdominal organ transplantation and hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery at the University of Toronto.
Read Dr. Sanabria's full bio

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 soft tissue sarcoma

For soft tissue sarcomas located in the abdomen or uterus such as liposarcomas and pleomorphic undifferentiated sarcomas, HIPEC may be an appropriate treatment option.

Although gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) occur in the digestive system, these tumors do not respond well to standard chemotherapy. Patients with GISTs are not likely to benefit from soft tissue sarcoma HIPEC treatment.

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