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Turning up the heat

MagazineJune 2000 (Vol. 11 Issue 3)Turning up the heat

While evidence is thin on the ground for many other alternative therapies, lymphoma has been shown to respond to heat treatment

While evidence is thin on the ground for many other alternative therapies, lymphoma has been shown to respond to heat treatment.

In a small US study of total body radiation (TBI) and added treatment with either whole body hyperthermia (WBH; raising body temperature to 41.8 1/4 C) or chemotherapy (the drug lonidamine), 100 per cent of those who had WBH responded versus 50 per cent of those who had TBI and lonidamine.Of the eight patients who received the TBI/WBH treatment, three were completely cured, four were partially cured and one was improved. In the TBI/drug group, there was only one complete cure and four partial cures.

After four years, two of the complete cures in the hyperthermia group were still clear of cancer.

The median survival time for the WBH group was over four years, compared with eight months in the chemotherapy group (Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys, 1990; 18: 909-20).

In an Australian study of 40 patients with intractable, recurrent, stage IV lymphoma treated with microwave radiation, another form of hyperthermia, and either small doses of chemotherapy or supervoltage radiation, 85 per cent of patients were completely cured and four patients were partially cured. Only two patients failed to improve.

The average survival time was 47 months all the more impressive as these patients were considered untreatable (Med J Australia, 1980; 1: 311-3).

Hypothermia is now being used in some centres for breast and prostate cancer.


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