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Hyperthermia in Cancer Treatment.


During a superficial hyperthermia treatment, the tumor area is heated up to 42 - 43°C for about one hour by using electromagnetic waves. Perfusion and sensitivity to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy are enhanced due to local heating of tumor tissue. Local hyperthermia is tolerable for the surrounding healthy tissue by being able to adjust blood perfusion and to regulate tissue temperature better than tumor tissue.


In the treatment area 3-4 measuring probes are applied to the skin. Then an applicator is positioned on top. That applicator consists out of a water filled bag, a so called water bolus and an antenna support equipped with microwave antennas. The water in the bolus will be warmed-up to 40-42°C and keeps the temperature of the skin constant. The real heating of the tissue is caused by microwaves emitted by the antennas. Measuring probes are utilized to regulate the heat input by adjusting the power of the antennas and therefore the optimal temperature distribution in the tissue. The actual treatment time is 60 minutes (1x/week per localization), set-up time (positioning the probes/applicator and warm-up time) is approximately 30 minutes. Radiation treatment should follow shortly after.


Figure 1: Application of the system


Well-established indications for hyperthermia are chest wall recurrence of breast cancer, lymph node metastasis of head and neck cancer, lymph node metastasis of skin tumors, malignant melanoma, superficial sarcomas and tumors in children.


Figure 2: The treatment unit


Further Information:


Interdisziplinäre Arbeitsgruppe Hyperthermie (IAH):


Deutsche Krebsgesellschaft


Krebsinformationsdienst (KID) des Deutschen Krebsforschungsinstituts


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last modified: 21-Apr-15
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