Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion, or HIPEC, has been described as one of the most innovative treatments available today. HIPEC combines surgery with chemotherapy for the treatment of cancers involving the abdominal lining such as appendiceal cancers or peritoneal mesothelioma. The surgery involves removing as much of the visible tumor as possible from inside the abdominal cavity. This part of the procedure is called the cytoreductive or “debulking” aspect of the surgery. This ensures that any gross tumor has been removed. After the debulking, chemotherapy is instilled directly into the abdominal cavity, where it penetrates any residual microscopic disease. The hyperthermia further increases absorption of the chemotherapy solution into tumor cells, increasing the effectiveness of the chemotherapy.
Since HIPEC allows the chemotherapy to be delivered directly to the abdominal cavity, the side effects associated with intravenous chemotherapy are eliminated. Additionally, it destroys undetected cancer cells after the tumor has been removed, preventing them from forming of new tumors and causing a recurrence of cancer.