HIPEC (Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy)

Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a targeted treatment that may be used along with cytoreductive surgery to address locally advanced gastric, colorectal, peritoneal, appendiceal or ovarian cancer. Immediately after any visible tumors are surgically removed, a highly concentrated, heated chemotherapy solution is pumped directly into the stomach cavity, where it circulates and targets any remaining cancer cells. HIPEC works for approximately 90 minutes while the patient lies on a special cooling blanket. Afterward, the 108-degree chemo bath is washed away and the surgical incisions are closed.

Benefits of HIPEC

As compared to traditional chemotherapy, HIPEC has several advantages, including:

  • Fewer side effects – Rather than entering the bloodstream and circulating throughout the entire body, the cancer-fighting medication is delivered directly into the stomach cavity, where the cancer is. As a result, the chemo is less likely to affect healthy tissues and organs.
  • Greater effectiveness – Also known as “hot chemotherapy,” HIPEC uses high temperatures that cause blood vessels to expand, allowing the medication to penetrate more deeply for better absorption. Also, because the chemo drugs remain confined to the stomach cavity, a higher dose can be administered without causing adverse effects.
  • A single treatment – Unlike standard chemo, which is delivered intravenously in multiple sessions over the course of several weeks or months, HIPEC is one treatment given in the operating room after cytoreductive surgery.

For some patients, especially those who have an aggressive or difficult-to-treat type of cancer, HIPEC may lead to a better outcome and enhanced quality of life.

Is HIPEC right for you?

If you’d like to learn more about hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, you are encouraged to talk with a medical oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center. Request an appointment by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing a new patient registration form. We do not require referrals.