Hyperthermia (HT) can be directly cytotoxic to cancer cells, and can also act as a radiation-sensitizer and chemo-sensitizer. Although the combination of HT with radiotherapy has been the primary focus for research, there is an equally strong rationale for combining HT with chemotherapy (CT). New chemotherapeutic agents, such as irinotecan, oxaliplatin, gemcitabine and taxane, have been demonstrated to show thermal enhancement in several in vitro and/or in vivo studies.
With regional or local HT, drug- and heat-induced toxicity can be localized, and systemic toxicity can be avoided or minimized. Generally, regional HT is less invasive than interstitial or intracavitary local HT, and can enhance chemotherapeutic effects in specific sites in the body. In many instances, systemic CT represents the most useful option for patients with surgically incurable malignant neoplasms. An approach which combines systemic CT with regional HT should be of interest, since it can enhance the efficacy of systemic chemotherapeutic drugs in specific areas. Here, we review clinical results of systemic CT combined with regional HT for the treatment of malignant neoplasms.