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Surgical Procedure Offers New Option for Pediatric Patients with Rare Cancer In Abdomen

CCH Newsletter - Summer 2010

Andrea Hayes-Jordan, M.D., assistant professor at the Children's Cancer Hospital, co-authored a study with physician assistant Holly Green that showed that an adult surgery adapted for use in young patients increased the survival of children with rare tumors in the abdomen. Hayes-Jordan is the first and only surgeon in the country to perform the adult procedure on children using heated chemotherapy.

The study, reported in the May 20 issue of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, looked retrospectively at 24 pediatric patients diagnosed with a rare and aggressive pediatric cancer known as desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT). Patients who received the surgical procedure called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), or "heated chemotherapy," had an overall three-year survival rate of 71 percent. For patients who received only standard treatment, 26 percent survived three years.

Previous studies have shown the synergy created when chemotherapy is heated. With HIPEC, Hayes-Jordan will spend 10 to 12 hours removing, or debulking, the hundreds of tumors in a patient's abdominal cavity. Then she will run the chemotherapy, heated at 40 to 41 degrees Celsius (104 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit), throughout the cavity while the patient lies on a cooling blanket to keep the body's temperatures at a safe level. The chemotherapy helps to kill any microscopic tumor cells that are left behind after the debulking surgery. Within one to two months, patients are often fully recovered from surgery and back to their regular activities.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center