As a result of its expertise and team approach, the UM Cancer Network has achieved excellent outcomes for cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) – an advanced treatment for patients with complex gastrointestinal cancers that have spread to the lining of the abdomen.

During the two-part procedure, surgical oncologists at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) remove visible cancerous tumors from patients' abdominal cavity. They then deliver high-heat chemotherapy to the area for 90 minutes.

"This chemotherapy is made to control and kill the floating cancer cells that are present but that you cannot detect with your eyes," said Cherif Boutros, MD, professor of surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Medical Director and Chair of Surgical Oncology, Tate Cancer Center at University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center.

Studies show HIPEC is more effective than surgery alone for GI cancers that have spread to the abdomen. Combined with tumor removal, HIPEC can improve survival and quality of life for patients who would otherwise have few, if any, options.

By eliminating microscopic residual disease after a primary resection, HIPEC also mitigates risk for future peritoneal metastases.

UMGCCC has offered HIPEC since 2004. Outcomes1 include:

  • 90-day mortality – 0 percent
  • Readmission rate – 3 percent
  • Mean length of stay – 7.45 days
  • Extubation – 3 percent in ICU, 9 percent in PACU, 88 percent in OR
  • Discharge disposition – 91 percent to home, 9 percent to rehab

Team members performing HIPEC at UMGCCC include Boutros as well as multiple other faculty physicians from the University of Maryland School of Medicine: Nader N. Hanna, MD, professor of surgery; Gautam G. Rao, MD, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences; Dana Marie Roque, MD, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences; Julia H. Terhune, MD, assistant professor of surgery; and Richelle T. Williams, MD, assistant professor of surgery.

While the treatment itself occurs at UMGCCC, the road leading to it begins at cancer centers throughout the UM Cancer Network. Specialists from each center collaborate to identify patients who can benefit from the procedure. UM Cancer Network specialists also help patients with pre-treatment services like dietary support and post-treatment follow ups.

Along with performing HIPEC, UMGCCC doctors are studying how immunotherapy can benefit patients with cancer of the peritoneal membrane.

Learn more about HIPEC.

1 Outcomes based on patients receiving HIPEC at UMGCCC during calendar years 2017 and 2018.