Curative treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis arising from colorectal cancer by complete resection and intraperitoneal chemotherapy

Cancer. 2001 Jul 1;92(1):71-6. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(20010701)92:1<71::aid-cncr1293>;2-9.


Background: Peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) is fatal, despite standard systemic chemotherapy. A new approach that combines maximal surgery with maximal regional chemotherapy has potential to cure selected patients who have colorectal PC. The authors have reported the oncologic results of this combined treatment.

Methods: The authors performed a retrospective study of 64 patients who had PC arising from colorectal adenocarcinomas, 19 (29.6%) of whom also had other metastases. These patients were treated by complete resection of all detectable tumors and by a 5-day course of early intraperitoneal chemotherapy (EPIC) with mitomycin C, then by 5-fluorouracil (n = 37), or by intraoperative intraperitoneal chemohyperthermia (IPCH) with mitomycin C, alone or combined with cisplatin (n = 27), in 2 separate trials. In the trial of IPCH, aimed at selecting the most reliable procedure in terms of spatial diffusion and thermal homogeneity, the 27 patients were treated with 7 different procedures. The extent of PC was assessed precisely by using a peritoneal index. The median follow-up period for the entire patient population was 51.7 months.

Results: The postoperative mortality and morbidity rates were 9.3% and 54.6%, respectively. Most severe complications occurred in patients who required extensive cytoreductive surgery. Global and disease-free survival rates were respectively 60.1% and 54.7% at 2 years and were 27.4% and 18.4% at 5 years. Results were significantly better (P = 0.04) when patients were metastasis-free (apart from PC) and when the peritoneal index was lower than 16 (P = 0.005). IPCH seemed to be more effective than EPIC for treatment of PC.

Conclusion: This treatment plan, which combined maximal surgery with maximal regional chemotherapy, cured approximately 25% of patients. This strategy was mainly applicable to patients with limited intraperitoneal cancer volume and no extraperitoneal involvement. IPCH proved to be more effective than EPIC but more difficult to use correctly. Future results should improve through routine use of the optimal hyperthermia procedure, with improvements in the composition of instillate, better patient selection, and the reduction in the rate of complications that occurs with physician experience.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitomycin / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Postoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Mitomycin
  • Fluorouracil