Glossary of Terms Regarding Peritoneal Malignancy
Towards the middle of this page you’ll find a more detailed description of Peritoneal Carcinomatosis.
The initial dissemination of cancer occurs via three routes; the lymphatics, the portal circulation and the peritoneal surfaces. Although lymphatic and hematogenous metastases indicate an aggressive disease process, it is possible that dissemination to peritoneal surfaces may be only superficial contamination of the parietal and visceral peritoneum and may be treatable for a potential cure.
Aggressive cytoreductive surgery with or without chemotherapy has been shown to be beneficial in several studies. First reported in the 1980s, intraperitoneal chemotherapy has been described as a safe treatment for peritoneal carcinomatosis and is currently under evaluation in several centers around the world. The administration of hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy at the time of surgery has added another option for the management of these conditions. New treatment strategies, including peritonectomy procedures and perioperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy, have achieved long-term disease free survival in this group of patients with terminal conditions.
Despite the aggressive nature of this combined therapy, it is generally well tolerated, with mild to moderate hematological toxicity being the most commonly associated result. Other complications related to the surgery may be significant, but in general can be managed by a specialized team that follows the patients closely during the postoperative period. The type of chemotherapy used depends on the type of tumor being treated. On follow-up, quality of life studies have demonstrated the recovery of normal activity in a significant number of patients. Long-term survival has been achieved in several studies.