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What is HIPEC?


Certain types of cancer respond well to a combination of therapies known as CS/HIPEC, or simply HIPEC.

“CS” stands for “cytoreductive surgery.”

“HIPEC” stands for “heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy.”

Cancers treated by this method include:

  • Mucinous adenocarcinoma of the appendix
  • Mesothelioma
  • Sarcoma
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Gastric cancer
  • Other gastrointestinal cancers

These types of cancer sometimes spread to the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum) or other organs, where neither surgery alone nor chemotherapy alone will be effective. CS/HIPEC is a state-of-the-art, combinative approach to attacking this kind of hard-to-treat cancer.

The first step in CS/HIPEC is surgery to remove all the visible cancer. (The prefix “cyto-” means “cell”; hence, cytoreductive surgery aims to reduce the number of cancer cells in the body.)

Once all of the visible cancer is removed, the surrounding organs are then washed in a high concentration chemotherapy, which is heated and applied during surgery as a one-time treatment. Studies indicate that this special form of chemotherapy can be particularly effective at removing the remaining microscopic cancer. For some patients, this may eliminate the need for a long, demanding course of traditional chemotherapy.

Surgery combined with the heated chemotherapy is a complex procedure set.  Applying this therapy takes extensive experience and discerning judgment. Surgeons at the University of Colorado have over twenty years of experience using this approach, helping appropriate patients to be treated with a favorable outcome. This type of treatment is not available at many institutions outside of the University of Colorado.