Use of hyperthermia for treatment of malignant disease; biologic rationale, techniques, clinical results

  • Ronald S. Scott
Part of the Cancer Treatment and Research book series (CTAR, volume 30)


Interest in the use of hyperthermia in the treatment of malignant disease is first recorded in the German literature in the middle of the late 19th century [1, 2]. These investigators noticed the serendipitous regression of tumors following infections such as erysipilas. Investigators during the next several decades continued this interest both by making note of tumor response secondary to high fevers such as those accompanying certain infections as well as by the actual induction of such infections, for instance plasmodial infections, which led to an actual clinical trial of hyperthermia with Warren’s induction of fever by deliberate infection in 1935 [3]. Attempts to selectively heat tumors in patients were hampered by technological constraints. The most straightforward techniques involved placing patients in a heated environment (e.g., saunas or hot water baths), but these resulted in excessive skin temperatures before core temperatures or tumor temperatures reached therapeutic levels. The technologic development which had the greatest impact on patient hyperthermia was electronic or radiofrequency heating. These techniques involve a high degree of electronic sophistication and therefore have been pioneered by physicians who commonly use such modalities in their approach to patients, namely radiologists or radiation oncologists.


Complete Response Rate Thermal Tolerance Hyperthermia Treatment Local Hyperthermia Chest Wall Recurrence 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Boston 1986

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  • Ronald S. Scott

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