Regional Hyperthermia Trial FAQ

To become part of the Regional Hyperthermia Clinical Research Study, patients need to first complete an Eligibility Questionnaire and then have a personal screening appointment with the Hyperthermia Technician. You will then be advised whether you are able to undergo the Hyperthermia Treatment and be part of our Research Study.

About Hyperthermia

Interstate Patients

For further information on hyperthermia therapy please visit the American Cancer Society

About Hyperthermia

What is hyperthermia?

Hyperthermia, also called thermal medicine or thermotherapy, is a type of cancer treatment in which body tissue is exposed to high temperature which may damage and kill cancer cells. Hyperthermia is almost always used with other forms of treatment, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Hyperthermia can be applied locally at the site of tumors or used as a whole body treatment. Hyperthermia is a treatment for cancer and is no way a cure for cancer.

How do I make an appointment?

First, please complete the Online Eligibility Questionnaire and send your completed copy to the NIIM clinic by email clinic@niim.com.au or fax (03)9 804 0513.

Your questionnaire will be assessed and eligible candidates will be contacted. Unfortunately, not everyone will be eligible for the trial. If your questionnaire indicates that you are not eligible, a staff member from NIIM will contact you as soon as possible.

As an eligible candidate, you will be contacted to make an appointment with the Hyperthermia technician, at which further screening will be undertaken to confirm that you are eligible for the trial. A suitable treatment schedule will be established.

All appointments are booked through the NIIM Clinic.

How many patients do you treat at NIIM?

NIIM treats up to 8 patients per day, with each patient requiring 45-60 minutes of treatment.

What is the temperature in the machine?

Regional Hyperthermia treatment utilises temperatures between 39 and 41 degrees Celsius. These temperatures are within the range of a high fever and are well tolerated by the body.

What are the possible risks of hyperthermia?

You may experience some minor side effects from treatment with regional hyperthermia, including:

1. Flushing of the skin (in regional hyperthermia treatment, this will be increased at the treatment site) as in a high fever
2. Superficial burns similar to sunburn, grade2 (this is a rare event)
3. Thirst
4. Hyperthermia can affect your fertility during the treatment period
5. An extremely rare but serious complication has been reported with unpredicted disseminated intravascular clotting (DIC)

What are the benefits?

Some international research suggests that Hyperthermia may improve your prognosis by enhancing the effect of your concurrent treatment (such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or other therapies). However, it may also have no impact, meaning your prognosis will be the same as if you were only receiving your primary treatment. There is no claim that Hyperthermia is a cure for any type of cancer. There have been no reports that the Hyperthermia treatment given in this study will have a negative impact on your prognosis.

How much does it cost?

The cost of your Hyperthermia treatment will depend on the number of treatment sessions you will require. This will be advised by the treating doctor.

A one hour session incurs a cost of AUD$320.

Please note: Hyperthermia treatment is given as part of the NIIM Clinical Research Study into Hyperthermia. As NIIM receives no funding for this research, patients are charged a minimal fee to cover the costs of treatment. Similar treatments at other clinics in Australia can cost up to $800 per hour.

How long will it take?

One session lasts around 45-60 min.

How many sessions do I need?

The number of treatment sessions you require will depending on the type of cancer and locations of the tumours and will usually be in the range of 4-16 sessions.

Can I have chemotherapy or radiotherapy in conjunction with hyperthermia?

The clinical trial is evaluating hyperthermia as an adjunctive treatment alongside other therapies such as radiation therapy of chemotherapy. Hyperthermia is not a replacement for primary therapies.

How soon after chemotherapy/radiotherapy treatment do I need to have hyperthermia treatment?

Some research has indicated that Hyperthermia is most effective when administered on the same day or the following day after chemotherapy/radiotherapy. A treatment schedule will be coordinated with your chemotherapy/radiotherapy treatment.

Should I have chemotherapy or radiotherapy before or after hyperthermia?

Your primary treatment should be conducted shortly before your hyperthermia treatment.

Do I need to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy to be treated with hyperthermia?

In this trial, Hyperthermia is applied in conjunction with other primary treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Can the clinic help me arrange my chemotherapy or radiotherapy?

No, you will need to make arrangements with your treating oncologist for chemotherapy/ radiotherapy.

What should I wear during hyperthermia treatment?

You will be given a medical gown to wear during the treatment session. You should wear cotton underwear; bring an extra pair to change into following treatment as you are likely to experience heavy sweating.

What do I need to bring for the first screening appointment?

You will need to bring your medical records, scans and blood tests.

If I am eligible for the trial, can I have Hyperthermia treatment immediately after the initial screening appointment?

Bookings can be made on the same day, depending on availability at the time of booking.

Do you treat children?

Due to the parameters of the Clinical Research Study, only patients aged 18-80 years can be treated.

Is there any evidence that hyperthermia works?

A number of research studies have been conducted internationally. A review of 14 such studies including a total of 343 patients reported complete response rates varying from 0 to 40% (overall 13%) and partial response rates from 0 to 56%, with an overall objective response rate of 51%. Three additional studies reported complete response rates of 11, 16 and 18%. In studies using combined treatment of hyperthermia with other modalities (total 713 lesions) showed a complete response rate from 31% to 67%.

References:

1. der Zee J et al. The Kadota Fund International Forum 2004-Clinical Group Consensus.van Part 1. Clinical Hyperthermia. Int J Hyperthermia 2008, 24 (2): 111-122.
2. Hetzel FW & Mattiello J. Interactions of hyperthermia with other modalities. In: Paliwal BR, Hetzel FW, & Dewhirst MW, editors. Medical Physics Monograph. Biological,physical and clinical aspects of hyperthermia. Am Inst Phys 1987;16:30–56.
3. Manning MR et al. Clinical hyperthermia: Results of a phase I trial employing hyperthermia alone or in combination with external beam or interstitial radiotherapy. Cancer 1982; 49: 05–216.
4. Dunlop PRC et al. An assessment of local hyperthermia in clinical practice. Int J Hyperthermia 1986; 2:39–50.
5. Gabriele P et al. Hyperthermia alone in the treatment of recurrences of malignant tumors. Cancer 1990; 66:191–2195.
6. Van der Zee J et al. Low dose reirradiation in combination with hyperthermia: a palliative treatment for patients with breast cancer recurring in previously irradiated areas. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1988; 15:1407–1413.

Interstate patients:

I live far from Melbourne, how can I arrange my Hyperthermia treatment to correspond to my primary treatment, like chemotherapy, radiotherapy or IVC?

Interstate patients will need to make arrangements for their primary treatments to take place in Melbourne in order to work in with Hyperthermia treatments on the same or following day.

Staff at the NIIM Clinic will do their best to schedule appointments at the most convenient times for patients, however scheduling is dependent on availability at the time.

Is there accommodation nearby?

The Hyperthermia treatment will take place at the NIIM clinic, located in Hawthorn East, Victoria. To view accommodation available near the Clinic you may wish to visit accommodation websites such as wotif.com. Staff at the NIIM Clinic are unable to assist in organising accommodation.

What public transport is available to get to the clinic?

The NIIM Clinic is accessible by the number 624 and 612 buses, the number 75 tram, and trains on the Alamein, Belgrave and Lilydale lines. For more information go to: ptv.vic.gov.au