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Title: Hyperthermia in Conjunction with Cancer Chemotherapy.
Agency: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research/Center for Health Care Technology
(Formerly, the Office of Health Technology Assessment).
Contact: Ira Green, M.D., Medical Officer; Thomas V. Holohan, M.D., Director, CHCT.
Status: Technology Assessment: Published, 1991.
Primary Objective: To determine whether hyperthermia alone or in conjunction with
chemotherapy resulted in an increase in response or survival rates in patients with cancer.
Methods Used: Review of the literature, consultation with U.S. Public Health Service, NIH and
FDA. Information was also obtained from individuals and organizations with an interest in
Data Identification: MEDLINE® search of articles published between 1967-1990.
Study Selection: Seventy-six references were selected that addressed the usefulness of these
therapies; book chapters were also consulted.
Data Extraction: Papers were analyzed as to whether they were prospective randomized trials or
case series, the types and uniformity of the patients studied, the duration of followup, the criteria
and types of response and the hyperthermia and chemotherapeutic methods used.
Key Findings: There is no objective and reliable evidence that hyperthermia alone or in
conjunction with chemotherapy produces increased response rates or longer survival times in
patients with cancer. The only exception is the use of hyperthermic regional perfusion with
melphalan for the treatment of a limb melanoma.
Conclusion: Hyperthermia alone or combined with chemotherapy is not, with one exception, a
useful treatment for cancer.