Peritoneal carcinomatosis from colorectal cancer: HIPEC?

Surg Oncol. 2007 Dec;16 Suppl 1:S149-52. doi: 10.1016/j.suronc.2007.10.026.


Peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) is a frequent terminal evolution from colorectal cancer. At the time of diagnosis of colon malignancies, PC affects approximately 10% of the patients [1]. Medical oncologists and gastrointestinal surgeons had considered it to be an untreatable condition for its unfavorable prognosis with a median survival of 6-9 months [1], suitable only for palliative treatment. Recurrence with carcinomatosis occurs in 25% of patients [2] and seems to be the only site of disease in 25-35% of these [3]. In a recent review of the literature on 12 trials, the incidence of peritoneal seeding during potentially curative surgery for PC from colorectal cancer varied from 3% to 28% [4]. Sugarbaker has suggested that peritoneal carcinomatosis is a locoregional cancer spread as a result of a molecular crosstalk between cancer cells and host elements [9]. Based on this concept and after Spratt first performed a debulking surgery (CR) followed by an intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemotherapy (HIPEC) in 1980 [5] and [6], numerous trials and investigations have been conducted on this technique [4]. Phase II studies on patients with PC of colorectal origin treated with CR plus HEPIC reported 5-year survival rates from 20% to 30% [7], while in a randomized controlled single-institution phase III trial this technique improved survival of patients affected by peritoneal carcinomatosis from colorectal malignancies (22.3 months versus 12.6 months) [8]. In all the series, an optimal cytoreduction is the most important prognostic factor for these patients [4]. The aim of this study is to demonstrate that peritoneum, as first line defense from carcinomatosis, is like an organ and so, the treatment of PC in selected patients should be a locoregional therapy with HIPEC in addition to CR [9].

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Chemotherapy, Cancer, Regional Perfusion*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents