What are the Different Types of Cancer Hyperthermia?

Hyperthermia is an adjuvant therapy. A modality is said so if it is used along with standard treatments of cancer like radiation therapy and chemotherapy to increase their effects.

Cancer hyperthermia

involves exposing the rogue cells to temperatures around 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Under this heat shock, either the malignant cells undergo natural death (technically known as apoptosis) or become weak and sensitive to powerful energy waves and anti-cancer drugs.

What are the Different Types of Cancer Hyperthermia?

The clinical studies of hyperthermia cancer treatment can be broadly classified into three types. They are local, regional and whole-body application. While local type of this treatment is quite an accepted one in the remedy of certain small tumor types, the whole-body variant is an experimental but promising modality of cancer. Some of the heat sources to deliver heat on the target are:

  • Microwave heating
  • Focused ultrasound infrared sauna
  • Magnetic hyperthermia
  • Induction heating
  • Sitting in a hot room as part of direct application of heat
  • Hot blankets used to wrap the patient
  • Infusion of warmed liquids

Local Hyperthemia Machine

The different methods by these sources of heat are given to the patient under this treatment option are:

Local Hyperthermia:

It is used when the tumor is confined to a small location. Energy is delivered using ultrasound, microwave and radiofrequency techniques. Some of the approaches associated with this method are:

  • Intraluminal:

    If the tumor is close to any cavity in the body like the rectum or esophagus, then probes are sent into the cavity to deliver heat directly to the tumor.

  • Interstitial:

    Deep tumors like the ones in brain are destroyed using this method. Anesthesia is used in prior. Imaging techniques like ultrasound aid in properly inserting the probe into the target tumor. The heat source is placed inside the probe which generates heat and kills the rogue cells. Radiofrequency ablation is a popular example of this method.

  • External:

    If the tumor is close to or below the skin, this method is chosen. Applicators are placed externally in the appropriate region and energy is delivered to the tumor directly.

Regional Hyperthermia:

This method is chosen when the therapy is to be applied on a limb, organ or other large tissue structure. It can be further divided into few sub-types. They are:

  • Deep Tissue:

    It is used to treat certain types of cancer tumor like the bladder and the cervical. Here, external applicators are placed closed to the cavity or target organ and radiofrequency or microwave energy is delivered onto the target tumor. Raise in temperature in the confined region destroys the tumor.

  • Continuous Hyperthermic Peritoneal Perfusion (CHPP):

    Stomach, liver and intestines are located in a region within the abdomen technically known as the peritoneal. If there is rapid growth of rogue cells in this region, this technique is used. While surgery removes the major chunk of the tumor, the remaining rogue cells are targeted by a warming device which sends anti-cancer drugs to the peritoneal cavity. Under exposure of temperature between 106-108 degrees Fahrenheit, the malignant cells die. The normal cells in the region successfully manage to dissipate the excess heat.

  • Regional Perfusion:

    Neoplasm in the lungs, liver or skin cancer melanoma in the legs and arms are treated by this technique. The blood of the patient is collected, heated and send back into the cancerous part of the body under this technique along with simultaneous application of anti-cancer drugs.

Whole Body Hyperthermia

Whole-Body Hyperthermia:

Research studies have found this hyperthermia cancer method to be a promising one. But, it is still under clinical trials. When cancer spreads to the fresh and remote corners of the body due to metastasis, this technique is applied. The temperature of the entire body is raised around 108 degrees Fahrenheit by placing the patient in thermal chambers or wrapping the body with hot blankets.


Some of the deciding factors of

cancer hyperthermia

effectiveness are temperature achieved during the process, its length and type of the rogue cell which is been destroyed. While imaging techniques help in properly locating the tumor and injecting the heat probes properly, small thermometers are inserted from time to time during the process to monitor the temperature.

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