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Targeted heat therapy offers new standard treatment option for soft tissue sarcoma
Date:9/22/2009

Berlin, Germany: Patients with soft-tissue sarcomas at high risk of spreading were 30% more likely to be alive and cancer free almost three years after starting treatment if their tumours were heated at the time they received chemotherapy, according to new research. The finding bolsters the case for intensifying exploration of the strategy in other types of cancer.

The study, which found that the addition of the innovative heat technique more than doubled the proportion of patients whose tumours responded to chemotherapy without increasing toxicity, is also the first to show that any treatment other than surgery followed by radiation can prolong survival of this type of patient.

"These findings provide a new standard treatment option and we believe they are likely to change the way many specialists treat these tumours," said the study's leader, Professor Rolf Issels, a professor of medical oncology at Klinikum Grosshadern Medical Center at the University of Munich in Germany, who presented the results today (Tuesday 22 September) in Berlin at Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1].

"But the implications of these findings are more far-reaching," Prof Issels said. "This is also the first clear evidence that targeted heat therapy adds to chemotherapy. We expect our findings will encourage other researchers to test the approach in other locally advanced cancers. Targeted heat therapy has already shown promise in recurrent breast and locally advanced cervical cancer in combination with radiation and studies combining it with chemotherapy in other localised tumours such as those in the pancreas and rectum are ongoing."

Soft tissue sarcomas involve cancer that starts in the soft, supporting tissues of the body, such as muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons, tissue around the joints and deep layers of the skin. They are relatively rare, accounting for about three percent of all cancers, but are more common in
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Contact: Emma Ross
rosswrite@mac.com
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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