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Whole-body hyperthermia in the treatment of breast cancer

Hyperthermia has two major effects on cancer. (1) Tumor cells can be killed, because they are more sensitive to heat than normal cells. Thereby, membrane components can also be released. Both events can induce antitumoral immunity. (2) It can revert chemoresistance of tumors. The patients in this study were postsurgery and treated with radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. Additionally to chemotherapy, nonspecific immune stimulation was applied. All patients were studied more than 5 years after the primary diagnosis. A total of 105 patients received the above-mentioned therapy. The 35 patients of the 'hyperthermia group' received whole-body hyperthermia treatment. The distribution of tumor at various staging was practically identical in both groups, as was the median follow-up period: 70 months. In the control group (105 patients) 12 patients died and 61 developed metastasis within a mean period of 36 months. On the contrary, in the hyperthermia group (35 patients) no patient died and only three developed metastasis within 52 months.

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Rethfeldt, E., Becker, M. & Koldovsky, P. Whole-body hyperthermia in the treatment of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res 3 (Suppl 1), A51 (2001).

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