According to research published in the International Journal of Hypothermia, scientists have discovered that heating the chemo drug Mitomycin-C before administering it to patients who were undergoing chemo to treat bladder cancer greatly improves its effectiveness. This research was conducted at the Comarcal Hospital in Spain.
The treatment is called Recirculant Hyperthermic Intravesical Chemotherapy (HIVEC) involves the pre-heating of Mitomycin-C and diluted water to a temperature of 109.4 Fahrenheit (43 c) before use in treatment for patients with bladder cancer. The chemo drugs recirculated at 200 ml (or 6.7 ounces) per minute and were maintained at a stable pressure, and that temperature inside the bladder was sustained for 1 hour (60 minutes).
Two groups of 40 individuals were studies. The first test group got the HIVEC treatment “before” resection of the bladder; the other group received the same treatment only “after” the resection of their bladder.
As a result, 97% of individuals completed a full course of HIVEC treatment and of that 97%, the majority reacted extremely well to the treatment regiment, showing low reoccurrence rates. Side effects in that majority were minimal with low impact on the treatment regimen.
Typically the bulk of bladder cancers are treated by endoscopic surgery, removing the tissue of the tumor. Occasionally, in some cases, additional treatment is required, and this treatment regimen is comprised of the circulation of drug through the bladder. If results are still unsatisfactory, a radical cystectomy (bladder removal) is one of the only other options.
Historically Commonly Bacillus Calmette-Guerin or BCG achieved great results in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, whereas Mitomycin-C is usually not as effective as BCG. Researchers believe though, that heating the Mitomycin-C prior to use raises the effectiveness by allowing the drug to be more soluble when administered at a higher temperature, with the permeable nature of the bladder lining adding to the up-tic in performance. Costing models also concluded that per individual receiving the treatment a saving of over $850 over a 3-year span.
In a test group of individuals who had undergone the HIVEC treatment regimen as opposed to surgery, the results showed that the bulk of these individuals had their tumors disappear with no reoccurrence showing in follow-ups over several years’ time. Scientists believe they have an alternate methodology of treatment that can prevent the invasiveness of a radical cystectomy.