Hyperthermia: a potent enhancer of radiotherapy

Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2007 Aug;19(6):418-26. doi: 10.1016/j.clon.2007.03.015. Epub 2007 May 10.


Hyperthermia is generally regarded as an experimental treatment with no realistic future in clinical cancer therapy. This is totally wrong. Although the role of hyperthermia alone as a cancer treatment may be limited, there is extensive pre-clinical data showing that in combination with radiation it is one of the most effective radiation sensitisers known. Moreover, there are a number of large randomised clinical trials in a variety of tumour types that clearly show the potential of hyperthermia to significantly improve both local tumour control and survival after radiation therapy, without a significant increase in side-effects. Here we review the pre-clinical rationale for combining hyperthermia with radiation, and summarise the clinical data showing its efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Hypoxia / radiation effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Radiation Tolerance / radiation effects
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Burden / radiation effects


  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents