Implementation of Hyperthermic Intrathoracic Chemotherapy (HITHOC) in Germany

Zentralblatt fur Chirurgie 2018 March 12 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Ried M, Hofmann HS, Dienemann H, Eichhorn M


For several years, hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy (HITHOC) has been performed in a few departments for thoracic surgery in a multimodality treatment regime in addition to surgical cytoreduction. Specific data about HITHOC in Germany are still lacking.

Survey in written form to all departments of thoracic surgery in Germany. The objective is the evaluation of HITHOC with respect to number, indications, technique, perioperative protection measure and complications.

A total of 116 departments of thoracic surgery were contacted, with a return rate of 43% (n = 50). HITHOC was not performed in 33 departments, due to lack of resources or experience (n = 17), missing efficacy of the procedure (n = 8) and fear of excessive complication rates (n = 3). Since 2008, a total of 343 HITHOC procedures have been performed in 17 departments. Eight departments have their own perfusion machine, whereas the remaining departments borrow the perfusion machine. Indications were malignant pleural mesothelioma in all departments (n = 17), thymoma with pleural spread (n = 11) and secondary pleural carcinosis (n = 7). The HITHOC was performed in nearly all departments after closing the chest (n = 16), with a temperature of 42 °C (n = 12) and for 60 minutes (n = 15). Cisplatin was always used, either alone (n = 9) or in combination (n = 8). In all the participating departments, the aims of the HITHOC were improvement in local tumor control and prolonged recurrence-free and overall survival. Relevant HITHOC-associated complications were low.

HITHOC is performed in at least 17 departments of thoracic surgery in Germany, and is widely standardised with protective measures and a low rate of complications. The aims of the HITHOC are improvement in local tumor control in pleural malignancies combined with prolonged overall survival and better quality of life.