55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Dr. James Cusack
Surgical Oncologist and Research Scientist
HIPEC at Mass General
HIPEC is an alternative and innovative method of delivering chemotherapy, which is commonly used to treat many types of cancer, to the body. Unlike traditional chemotherapy that is delivered intravenously, HIPEC delivers chemotherapy directly into the abdomen making it a good option for cancers that originated in or have spread to the abdominal cavity.
How does HIPEC work?
First, your surgeon removes any visible tumors from the abdomen. Next, HIPEC delivers heated chemotherapy directly inside the abdomen to help destroy any remaining cancer cells and very small tumors that cannot be seen by the surgeon. This is because the chemotherapy circulates inside the abdomen, allowing it to reach more places. The goal of HIPEC is to prevent these cells from growing into new tumors and causing the cancer to return.
What are the benefits of HIPEC procedures?
- HIPEC allows for a higher concentration of chemotherapy to be delivered into the abdomen more effectively and safer than standard chemotherapy, which is delivered intravenously.
- This type of chemotherapy is best at killing cancer cells that are too small to be seen with the naked eye.
- Chemotherapy delivered through HIPEC causes fewer side effects than intravenous chemotherapy. This is because the high concentrations of chemotherapy solution are unable to cross what is known as the peritoneal plasma barrier.
- Experts say that pairing surgery and HIPEC together may be more beneficial than chemotherapy alone.
Am I a candidate for HIPEC?
Typical HIPEC patients are those with certain Stage IV abdominal cancers. Many are seeking an alternative to traditional chemotherapy or radiation therapy, as these options offer limited success treating advanced abdominal cancers. Patients also may have been told that no other treatment will work, but are still hoping to find a solution.