Hyperthermia and cancer

Local hyperthermia also known as heat therapy or heat ablation has been shown to help cancer treatments.  When the cells are exposed to higher than normal temperature, changes are taking place inside the cell.  These changes can make the cancer cells more likely to be affected by other treatments like radiation, chemotherapy, mistletoe or others.  Vey high temperature can kill cancer cells directly (thermal ablation)

Hyperthermia therapy has been researched and performed in integrative cancer centers around the world.  Studies have shown that Local Hyperthermia can:

  • alter the tumor Microenvironment
  • improve chemotherapy efficacy up to 500%
  • improve radiation therapy efficacy up to 300%
  • reduce cancer pain
  • induce cancer cell death (apoptosis)
  • help immunotherapy be more effective

There are several studies showing potential synergy with radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.  Also, synergy with botanicals has been studied: berberine, curcumin and mistletoe.
Hyperthermia can increase the uptake of chemotherapy by cancer cells by between 1000% and 3000% making it a good option to add to low dose chemotherapy.

https://neurosciencenews.com/cancer–heat-chemo-17535/  Heat makes chemo work better

Both healthy and cancerous cell membranes are affected by the heat but the cancer cell “cooling” system is deficient and cannot offer protections.

The tumor vasculature is vast but aberrant, irregular and disorganized and promotes an unfavorable microenvironment inside the tumor, with low oxygen and low pH.  This “protects ” cancer cells from oxidative therapies such as radiation and some chemotherapy because oxygen is needed for these therapies to work.  Research shows that heating the cell to 40ºC-42ºC changes the tumor microenvironment making them vulnerable to oxidative therapies and also causing direct cell death (apoptosis)

Tumor masses tend to have oxygen-deprived cells within the inner part of the tumor and makes these cells resistant to radiation.  But they are sensitive to heat,  which makes hyperthermia an ideal companion to radiation treatment.  Radiation kills the oxygenated outer cell while the heat acts on the inner low oxygen cells making them more susceptible to radiation damage.

When it comes to heat therapy in cancer we cannot forget the work of Dr. John Holt.  He practiced in Australia before moving to Dublin, Ireland prior to retiring.  He used radio waves with a 434mHz frequency to heat tumors after administering a glucose-blocking agent such as glutathione or cysteine.  The cancer cells absorb these agents which then block glucose, which is essential for the cancer cell to survive.  The heat encourages the uptake of glutathione and cysteine into the cancer cell, leading the cell to die.  The treatments were administered for 3 weeks, 5 days a week.

A note on glioblastoma.  Researchers at the University of Virginia are looking at pairing HIFU with a unique drug that activates the tumor to ultrasound waves, called 5-ALA.  The ultrasound passes harmlessly through the skull bone and the healthy brain tissue but the presence of 5-ALA, which is absorbed by the tumor cells, focuses the ultrasound waves on the tumor.  This results in “bubbles inside the tumor cells,” killing them 47% of the time without an incision, holes drilled in the skull radiation or chemotherapy.

There is also evidence that heating a tumor inhibits homologous recombination, a DNA repair system, so the cancer cells cannot repair themselves after their DNA was damaged by radiation or chemotherapy

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1101053108 inProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

The National Cancer Institute states that “Hyperthermia may make some cells more sensitive to radiation or harm other cells that radiation can’t damage”

We use Thermofield technology that penetrates deep into the tissues and can deliver heat up to 43 degrees Celsius,.  Treatments usually take 45 minutes and do not require local anesthetic.  Several sessions with a maintenance schedule are usually required.

The Thermofield is not yet FDA approved for the treatment of any condition. There are no guarantees of benefit or treatment response.

In March 2000, the respected medical journal, The Lancet published the results of a six-year cancer study comparing the effectiveness of combined hyperthermia and radiation with radiation treatment alone. The trials reported are a randomized, Phase III study performed on 358 patients with cancer. Although the study showed promise for the treatment of advanced cervical, bladder and colorectal cancer, the most remarkable results were obtained with advanced cervical cancer. Complete disappearance of the tumor was obtained in 83% of those who received the combined treatment, compared to 57% who were treated with radiation alone. In addition, the three-year survival rate for those who received the combined treatments nearly doubled (improved 89%), compared with those who just received radiation. The study was well-received in the Netherlands where it was conducted, and the treatment has received government approval. The other advantage noted in the report was the fact that there was none of the nausea often experienced with radiation, and hospitalization was not required.

In a 2001 research study by Issels, a 5-year trial on sarcoma patients using such combination therapies produced remarkable improvements. With 59 patients the 5-year survival doubled from the conventional treatment norm of around 25 per cent to 49 per cent with 36 patients being completely disease-free after 5 years.

In the 2009 Berlin European Society of Medical Oncology a presentation on Sarcoma using chemotherapy alone, or chemotherapy plus hyperthermia showed that in a randomized trial, the group also using hyperthermia almost doubled their survival times from a mean of 18 months to over 32 months (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2010: Twombley).

There are a number of German clinics, such as those operated by Dr. Peter Wolf (Hyperthermia Centre Hanover) or by Dr. Herzog (Die Fachklinik) and Dr. Douwes (Klinik St Georg), that practice the use of hyperthermia in combination with more conventional therapies.

The use of hyperthermia with chemotherapy, according to one report in the Lancet, seems to significantly increase 5-year survival rates and chemotherapy success. This is supported by a review on whole-body hyperthermia by the National Cancer Institute in America which states that ’raising body temperatures to 113oF degrees can damage and kill cancer cells’ and ’may shrink tumors’.
Importantly, the review states that ’numerous clinical trials have studied hyperthermia with radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Many of these studies have shown a significant reduction in tumor size’. Cancers quoted include, sarcoma, melanoma, cancers of the head and neck, brain, breast, rectum, liver, bladder and more.
Another multi-paper review in the Lancet across the USA and Europe reported that response rates for chemo and hyperthermia combined are 70%, whilst hyperthermia alone gives a response rate of 15%. Chemotherapy alone can give results of 5 – 60% depending upon the drug, and radiotherapy alone about 35%. Hyperthermia also appears to allow very high doses of chemotherapy to be administered more successfully and sometimes without significant side-effects.

Daniel den Hoed Cancer Centre, part of the University Hospital in Rotterdam, who have a large team devoted to the treatment and an increasing number of referrals. They say, “We are convinced that the increased patient referral by radiation and medical oncology reflects their confidence in the value of hyperthermia as a standard treatment for advanced cancer.”

Schedule a consultation to discuss if this could be a helpful addition to your treatment.  As each cancer patient has an individual history you would need to consult with the physician in order to decide if this is an option for you.

Febrile illnesses may be protective against cancer [1922242530].

Some febrile illnesses may contribute to curing cancer [192025].

Febrile reactions to injecting mistletoe products in cancer treatment may improve treatment outcome [19222430].