BSD-2000 hyperthermia treatment looks promising for pancreatic cancer.

BSD Medical Corporation, a leading provider of medical systems that utilize targeted heat therapy to treat cancer, today reported that study results demonstrate a survival benefit, without an increase in toxicity, from the addition of hyperthermia (HT) for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer patients. The study, “Regional Hyperthermia Combined with Chemoradiotherapy in Primary or Recurrent Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer” (Strahlenther Onkol. September 19, 2011, DOI 10.1007/s00066-011-2226-6) reported the results of an open-label, comparative cohort study of 60 patients with locally advanced, unresectable, pancreatic cancer (LAPC).

The study evaluated patients treated with hyperthermia, delivered using the BSD-2000 Hyperthermia System, combined with chemotherapy and radiation therapy (CRT), as compared to patients treated with CRT alone. Maluta et al., University Hospital of Verona, Italy, reported that the pancreatic patients who were treated with hyperthermia combined with CRT (n=34) had a median overall survival of 15 months, as compared to a median overall survival of 11 months for those treated with CRT alone (n=26). This increase in survival is impressive as the majority of the patients had extensive disease and a dire prognosis. The treatment was well tolerated with no increase in toxicity from the addition of hyperthermia. Even though the patients were not randomized, the treatment group and the control group were balanced in terms of patient and disease characteristics.

The authors of the study concluded that, “Our study suggests that a combination of CRT and HT (triple modality treatment) is safe in patients with LAPC. The efficacy data seem promising suggesting a slight but significant increase in survival in patients who suffer from a disease with very poor prognosis.”

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest and hardest to treat cancers and is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with more than 37,000 new cases and more than 33,000 deaths per year. The median survival period from the time of diagnosis until death is 3.5 to 6 months, depending on treatment, and less than 5 percent survive to five years. Considering these dire results, even a small benefit in terms of overall survival is important.