Frequently Asked Questions
What is hyperthermia?
Hyperthermia – heating the tumor to 41 – 45 °C – combined with radiation and/or chemotherapy is a proven treatment for malignant tumors. Randomized trials show that combining hyperthermia with the other therapies has improved disease-free survival and local tumor control without an increase in toxicity.
What are the effects of hyperthermia?
Hyperthermia alone has a cytotoxic effect at temperatures above 42.5 °C. This was shown by various researches in-vitro. Also an enhancement of radiation and certain chemotherapeutic drugs was shown. Increasing the blood flow through heat can reduce hypoxia in the tumor region making the tumor more sensitive for radiation therapy. The increased blood flow in the tumor region can achieve a higher concentration of cytotoxic drugs. Immunological effects of hyperthermia (e.g. induction of heat shock proteins and activation of NK cells) are currently under investigation.
How is the heat produced and administered?
The Pyrexar hyperthermia systems use electromagnetic waves to heat the tumor tissue. Depending on the tumor size and location various applicators are used to couple the energy into the body.
Are tumors treated with hyperthermia alone?
It has been shown that hyperthermia alone has no benefit for cancer patients. In combination with radiation and/or chemotherapy there is a significant improvement of overall survival and local tumor control.
Are there randomized studies on the effects of hyperthermia?
There are a lot of randomized studies (phase III) that show the benefit of hyperthermia combined with radiation and/or chemotherapy. Most of them were carried out using Pyrexar hyperthermia systems. We will be happy to send you the studies on request. Please send us an e-mail.
Which tumors are suitable for hyperthermia treatments?
All solid tumors can be treated with hyperthermia. The optimum treatment modality is determined by size and location of the tumor.
How is the treatment temperature controlled inside the body?
The temperature in the tumor region must be controlled during treatment. The hyperthermia systems are equipped with multi-channel thermistor probes. These probes are inserted into the tumor in closed-ended catheters. The probes are not affected by the electromagnetic fields. Therefore continuous measurements are possible. By automatically positioning the tip of the probes at various points along the catheter tracks a temperature profile is created (thermal mapping).
We offer the first commercially available non-invasive thermometry system for hyperthermia. MR imaging is used to measure the three-dimensional temperature distribution.
Is the toxicity of radiation or chemotherapy increased by hyperthermia?
A lot of clinical trials show that there is no increased toxicity by adding hyperthermia to radiation and/or chemotherapy. However burns can occur during hyperthermia treatment but this happens only in a few percent of treatments.
Are there any contraindications for hyperthermia?
All patients with metallic implants cannot be treated by electromagnetically induced hyperthermia. Small surgical clips have to be examined by the specialists of the hyperthermia center.
Due to systemic stress patients in a weak cardiac condition are subject to an individual decision of the physician.
How long does a hyperthermia treatment last?
Normally 90 minutes. This time is divided in 30 minutes heat-up time and 60 minutes treatment at the target temperature. Preparation and set-up time has to be added. Overall treatment time is about 2 – 2.5 hours.
Is there a “dose” limitation for hyperthermia?
There is no dose limitation for hyperthermia. This means hyperthermia can be repeated as often as necessary.
What is the price of a hyperthermia system?
All hyperthermia systems are configured for the customer needs. Please contact our sales staff.
How much space does a hyperthermia system need?
The treatment room should be 24 – 30 m2. For the system with integrated MR imaging about 45 m2 are required. A technical room of 12 – 15 m2 is also necessary. A space of about 16 m2 is needed for the operator room. For a detailed site planning please contact our site planning specialists.