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Whole-body hyperthermia in combination with platinum-containing drugs in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer


Background. Patients with advanced ovarian cancer have an enormous risk of relapse after primary therapy, and the prognosis for these patients remains bleak. Primary and acquired resistance of tumor cells to antineoplastic drugs is a major cause of the limited effectiveness of chemotherapy. The effect of whole-body hyperthermia (WBH) combined with platinum-containing chemotherapy in the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer was examined in this study. Methods. Patients studied were those with pathologically verified epithelial ovarian cancer after operation who had had first-line chemotherapy with cisplatin or carboplatin, and relapsed. All 21 patients were treated with WBH and platinum-based chemotherapy. During the WBH, a core temperature of 41.5°C–42°C was attained in the rectum. We combined the WBH with 300–400mg/dl artificial hyperglycemia. The plateau temperature was held over a period of, on average, 90 30min, and the artificial hyperglycemia, on average, 240 30min. WBH was repeated at the beginning of each new chemotherapy cycle. Results. One patient (4.8%) had a complete remission, 7 patients (33.3%) had a partial remission, stable disease was noted in 10 patients (47.6%), and 3 (14.3%) patients did not respond and had progressive disease. Median time to progression was 6.5 months, and median survival time, 16.5 months. Conclusion. Our results validate the efficacy of WBH in the treatment of patients with recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. The overall tolerance of this treatment was good. The priority for all patients was an improvement in life quality; this was seen 3–4 days after WBH. The encouraging results should be confirmed in randomized studies.


Friedrich Douwes,
Juri Bogovic,
Ortrun Douwes,
Friedrich Migeod,
Christoph Grote
Publication type
No. of patients