When someone receives the unfortunate diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma, the first treatment option considered is surgery. Cytoreduction surgery with HIPEC is the quickest and most effective way to take out tumors from the abdominal cavity and abdominal lining.

What if the disease has spread too far and tumors are too close to vital organs? Most doctors won’t perform cytoreductive surgery, but some will do it even to reduce symptoms.

The Medical College of Wisconsin conducted a study on the benefits of cytoreductive surgery for palliative treatment use. The team performed cytoreduction with HIPEC on 277 people with abdominal cancer, including malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. A select few of the HIPEC surgeries were for palliative purposes.

Palliative therapy reduces symptoms and alleviates discomfort for patients. It’s primarily saved for late-stage cancers as a way of making people more comfortable. Many doctors believe palliative therapy is needed for all cancer cases, as it improves mental health and overall quality of life.


Explaining Cytoreduction With HIPEC Surgery

Cytoreductive surgery is a procedure to remove all visible tumors from the cancer site. Peritoneal mesothelioma grows like a sheet, with small tumors emerging and spreading from the ever-growing original tumor mass. Doctors can take out the tissue with these tumors so long as they aren’t on vital organs. They can also remove the peritoneum (where peritoneal mesothelioma starts), omentum, spleen, and a few other body parts in the abdomen.

Most of the time, cytoreductive surgery doesn’t remove all the tumors. HIPEC is a form of chemotherapy that uses hot liquid drugs to bathe the abdomen in treatment. The hot chemotherapy is better at killing tumors. HIPEC only takes a few hours and sometimes only needs to happen once.


Cytoreduction Surgery and HIPEC for Late-Stage Peritoneal Mesothelioma

When patients have stage 3 or stage 4 peritoneal mesothelioma, most doctors think cytoreduction with HIPEC isn’t going to benefit them enough. The surgery is invasive and burdensome for patients.

However, being selective about how much tissue to remove and using lower doses of HIPEC may keep the surgery viable as a palliative treatment for mesothelioma pain management.

At the Medical College of Wisconsin, 17 cancer patients underwent 20 HIPEC surgeries for palliative intent. The postoperative complication rate was 50%. Symptom management improved, though, as patients experienced symptom reduction 90% of the time.

The average survival for these 17 patients was 11.6 months, which is better than many patients with late-stage peritoneal mesothelioma. Symptoms remained reduced or non-existent after HIPEC surgery for an average of 5.1 months.

If you have peritoneal mesothelioma, contact our team to discuss treatment options. We can go over what cytoreduction with HIPEC entails, plus the top cancer centers to visit for this surgery. We’ll also give our recommendation for the top peritoneal mesothelioma specialists to perform this surgery.

Email our registered nurse, Karen Ritter, at karen@mesotheliomaguide.com. She’s the head of our patient advocate team and can assist in answering any of your questions.

    Sources & Author

Devin Goldan image

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

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