A recent peer review of a landmark clinical study published earlier this year in the longest running medical journal, "The Lancet", strengthens the case for hyperthermia as a powerful therapy for rectal cancer. In the United States alone there are over 130 thousand new cases of colorectal cancer each year, and 43% of colorectal patients will die from the disease.
Support for colorectal hyperthermia is behind commercial efforts of BSD Medical Corporation for the BSD-2000 deep regional hyperthermia system. General acceptance of hyperthermia as a prescribed treatment for rectal cancer would create a demand for many hyperthermia treatment systems, as each system has a treatment course capacity to accommodate only about 300 patients per year.
A research team at Charite University Medical School of the Humboldt
University in Berlin has reviewed the Dutch Deep Hyperthermia Trials, which
were published April 2000 in "The Lancet" (vol. 356, pp. 771-2). The trials
reported were a randomized phase III study performed on 358 human volunteers
with locally advanced tumors of the bladder, rectum and cervix, and
demonstrated the powerful therapeutic effects of hyperthermia in the treatment
of certain pelvic cancers. Furthermore, in the case of advanced cervical
cancer, the addition of deep hyperthermia (with the BSD-2000) increased the
complete response rate from 57% to 83%, and the 3-year overall survival from
27% to 51%.
Now the Berlin group has noted that although the Dutch trials showed
"a trend in favor of deep hyperthermia to attain complete tumor response (for
rectal cancer)" there were factors in the study that prevented the results
from being even stronger. In particular, they pointed out that the population
given hyperthermia had a larger mean tumor size and a higher proportion of
patients with advanced or metastatic disease than the control group. Jacoba
van der Zee, M.D., the lead author for the Dutch study, replied to the
reviewers, "we fully agree with the comments [by the Berlin group] that our
study may underestimate the value of additional hyperthermia in rectal
cancer." Dr. van der Zee further stated that their paper had omitted the fact
that they found hyperthermia added a substantial palliative effect in the
patients studied, and lengthened the median duration of palliation from
7 months to 17 months.
The Berlin researchers are currently conducting a phase III trial
comparing radiochemotherapy alone with radiochemotherapy combined with deep
hyperthermia (using the BSD-2000) in patients with locally advanced
non-metastatic rectal cancer. This study could add substantially to the case
for hyperthermia in treatment of rectal cancer.
BSD Medical Corporation [BSDM] is the leading developer of hyperthermia
systems for cancer therapy. to find
hyperthermic oncology information sources and treatment centers, visit the
BSD Medical Corporation web site http://www.bsdmc.com.