Intraperitoneal immunotherapy: historical perspectives and modern therapy

Cancer Gene Ther. 2016 Nov;23(11):373-381. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2016.49. Epub 2016 Nov 11.


Intraperitoneal immunotherapy represents a novel strategy for the management of peritoneal metastases (PM). Cytoreductive surgery (CRS) and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) has remained the gold standard of treatment for patients with PM, yet despite optimal treatment, recurrence rates remain high and long-term survival poor. From Coley's toxins to immune checkpoint inhibitors, the wide variety of anticancer immunotherapeutic strategies are now garnering attention for control of regional disease of the peritoneal cavity. Early studies with vaccine-based therapies, adoptive cell transfer, immune checkpoint inhibitors, and chimeric T cells with tumor-specific antigen receptors (CAR-T cells) are being performed, showing promise for control of peritoneal spread and induction of lasting anticancer immunity. In addition, catumaxomab, a trifunctional antibody, has been approved for intraperitoneal immunotherapy in Europe for the control of malignant ascites in patients with epithelial cell adhesion molecule positive cancers. We review a brief history of immunotherapy and current modalities under investigation for intraperitoneal use in the treatment of PM.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bispecific / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / therapeutic use
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / history*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antibodies, Bispecific
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • catumaxomab