Chance of disease-free survival 30 percent greater than in chemotherapy-only group

-- Jeff Muise

Thursday, April 29, 2010 (Last Updated: 04/30/2010)

THURSDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Treating high-risk soft tissue sarcoma (STS) by applying heat to the tumor area during conventional chemotherapy may prevent local progression and improve patient survival better than chemotherapy alone, according to a study published online April 29 in The Lancet Oncology.

Rolf. D. Issels, M.D., of Klinikum der Universität München in Germany, and colleagues randomized 341 patients to receive chemotherapy with etoposide, ifosfamide and doxorubicin plus regional hyperthermia (which aimed to raise tumor temperatures to 42 degrees Celsius for 60 minutes) or the chemotherapy regimen alone. The primary study outcome was progression-free survival.

After a median follow-up of 34 months, the investigators found that the treatment response rate in the group that received hyperthermia was 28.8 percent compared with 12.7 percent for patients receiving chemotherapy only. In median follow-up of approximately three years, patients who had both hyperthermia and chemotherapy were 42 percent more likely to survive with local control, and were 30 percent more likely to survive disease-free than those receiving chemotherapy only. However, patients receiving hyperthermia were more likely to develop leucopenia, most likely as a result of bone marrow being covered by the heating field, particularly among patients with large abdominal or pelvic tumors, the researchers found

"To our knowledge, this is the first randomized phase 3 trial to show that regional hyperthermia increases the benefit of chemotherapy. Adding regional hyperthermia to chemotherapy is a new effective treatment strategy for patients with high-risk STS, including STS with an abdominal or retroperitoneal location," the authors write.

Three study authors reported receiving consulting fees from Medtherm.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
Family Practice
Internal Medicine

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