British oncologists recently reported that they had success when treating two liver cancer patients with a “chemo bath”, a procedure during which the liver was directly saturated with heated chemotherapy. This technique has previously been used in the United States and other countries for patients with a number of other cancers, including peritoneal mesothelioma.
During a chemo bath, the affected area is treated without exposing the rest of the body to potentially harmful chemotherapy medications. This treatment, Chemosaturation with Percutaneous Hepatic Perfusion (CS-PHP) was performed in the UK for the first time on two patients with advanced-stage, metastasized liver cancer at Southampton General Hospital, according to Medical News Today.
According to the article, only about 10 percent of patients live a year after cancer has invaded the liver, and there is no effective treatment for this type of cancer.
A similar treatment, hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion (HIPEC), is used to battle peritoneal mesothelioma at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. During this treatment, the patient’s’ abdomen is bathed with heated high-dose chemotherapy drugs so that multiple tumors in the abdominal cavity may be treated at the same time. According to oncologists at UPMC, patients who receive this treatment live an average of three to four years longer than patients who do not.
Similarly, doctors at the Moffitt Cancer Center report that patients who receive “chemo baths” live up to five times longer than patients who received the best alternative care.
According to Brian Stedman, a Southampton General Hospital interventional radiologist who performed the procedure, “To cut off an organ from the body for 60 minutes, soak it in a high dose of drug and then filter the blood almost completely clean before returning is truly groundbreaking.”