HIPEC: Latest Advancement In The Treatment Of Ovarian Cancer

By Dr. Kanika Batra Modi in Medical Oncology

May 19 , 2022 | 1 min read

HIPEC stands for Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy. It is the latest technique of delivering chemotherapy directly in the abdominal cavity during surgery. The term “Hyperthermic Chemotherapy” means that the temperature of chemotherapy is greater than normal body temperature and the term “Intraperitoneal” means that the treatment is delivered to the abdominal cavity. The procedure is used to treat tumours that have spread to the lining surfaces of the peritoneal(abdominal) cavity from primary ovarian cancer.

HIPEC Procedure

The HIPEC procedure has two steps. 

  1. Cytoreductive surgery

    The first step is called Cytoreductive surgery i.e. surgeon opens the abdomen and removes as much tumour growth as possible. Post that Catheters are inserted in the abdominal cavity(source of delivering the chemotherapy). HIPEC without surgery is ineffective because the chemotherapy drug cannot penetrate deep into cancerous cells.

  2. Chemotherapy bath

    The second step is a chemotherapy bath in which the chemotherapy drug delivers directly in the abdomen at 40-42°C. Thereafter, chemotherapy drugs are made to continuously flow in and out from the abdominal cavity via catheters. HIPEC mode of chemotherapy administration ensures exposure of concentrated chemotherapy to cancer cells as compared to the conventional intravenous or oral route of chemotherapy administration. This process continues for about 90-120 minutes and thereafter, the chemotherapy solution is drained out completely. The abdomen is then rinsed with saline solution. The catheter is removed and the abdomen is closed.

In short, with HIPEC,a high dose of chemotherapy is delivered directly on the tumour site which ensures reduced risk of exposure to chemotherapy in the rest of the body.

But HIPEC is not for every patient of Carcinoma ovary, it is specifically indicated for stage III ovarian cancer and recurrent Carcinoma Ovary which is limited to the abdominal cavity.