Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


It is known that above-normal temperatures (42°-42.5°C) provoke selective damage to neoplastic cells. We used heated circulating blood as a method for heat transfer on patients with limb tumors. From October 1964 to December 1979, we treated a total of 198 patients with hyperthermic perfusion for melanoma of the limbs (91), osteosarcoma (57), and soft tissue sarcoma (50). For melanoma patients, the five-year survival rate, excluding Stage IV, was 60%. For patients with soft tissue sarcoma, the five-year survival rates were 53% and 56% for hyperthermic perfusion and hyperthermic antiblastic perfusion. respectively. For 29 patients with osteosarcoma, hyperthermic perfusion was combined with systematic amputation ofthe limb for a 60% survival rate over a five-year period. Newer studies with osteosarcoma patients involve a multistep treatment that saves the tumor-bearing limb without reducing survival rates. Our 16-year clinical trial demonstrates that hyperthermia is effective in curing some tumors of the limbs, especially osteosarcoma and melanoma. We believe that perfusion remains the most reliable heat transfer method for loco-regional treatment and perhaps even for whole-body treatment for limb tumors.