Hyperthermia is being studied to treat many types of cancer:
This type of hyperthermia delivers very high heat to a small area of cells or a tumor. Local hyperthermia can treat cancer without surgery.
Different forms of energy may be used, including:
Heat may be delivered using:
This type of hyperthermia uses low heat on larger areas, such as an organ, limb, or a hollow space inside the body.
Heat may be delivered using these methods:
This treatment raises a person's body temperature as though they have a fever. This helps chemotherapy work better to treat cancer that has spread (metastasized). Blankets, warm water, or a heated chamber are used to warm the person's body. During this therapy, people sometimes get medicines to make them calm and sleepy.
During hyperthermia treatments, some tissues may get very hot. This can cause:
Other possible side effects include:
Whole-body hyperthermia can cause:
In rare cases, it can harm the heart or blood vessels.
Hyperthermia, radiation and chemotherapy: the role of heat in multidisciplinary cancer care. Semin Oncol. 2014 Dec;41(6):714-29. PMID: 25499632
Hyperthermia in Cancer Treatment. National Cancer Institute. www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/surgery/hyperthermia-fact-sheet. Accessed August 31, 2015.
Hyperthermia to Treat Cancer. American Cancer Society. www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/treatmenttypes/hyperthermia. Accessed August 31, 2015.
Januszewski, A, Stebbing, J. Hyperthermia in cancer: is it coming of age? Lancet Oncol. 2014 May;15(6):565-6. PMID: 24807858
Last reviewed on: 9/13/2015
Reviewed by: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.