A Cutting-Edge Therapy May Offer a “Last Hope” for Patients with Ovarian Cancer
Wake Forest Baptist gynecologic oncologists are among only a few physicians in the U.S. to offer intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemotherapy (IPHC) for patients with cancers that are difficult to treat.
Standard treatment for ovarian cancer involves FDA-approved chemotherapy drugs. In addition, there are approved clinical trials available at Wake Forest Baptist sponsored by the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) and the Translational Research in Oncology (TRIO) network for both newly diagnosed and recurrent ovarian cancer. However, many patients have cancer recurrence that has not responded to other treatment.
IPHC has been offered since 1991 by surgeons at Wake Forest Baptist to treat patients with advanced cancer of the abdomen. Samuel S. Lentz, MD is pioneering this same technology for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
While IPHC is not considered the standard treatment for ovarian cancer, its safety and efficacy have been assessed in clinical trials involving patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer. One of these trials was performed at Wake Forest Baptist under the guidance of Lentz.
IPHC is performed at the time of the cytoreductive surgery. After removing all visible cancer growth, the surgeon inserts tubes into the abdomen that are attached to a perfusion pump. The pump then perfuses a heated anti-cancer drug into the abdominal cavity while the patient is still under anesthesia.
“This allows exposure of all peritoneal surfaces to high concentrations of chemotherapy,” said Lentz. “Surgery removes the macroscopic tumor while immediate IPHC treats the remaining microscopic disease.”