Pelvic perfusion in the adjuvant therapy of locally advanced rectal cancer: Feasibility trial and initial clinical experience

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The increased risk of pelvic recurrence in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer seems to justify a more aggressive regional therapeutic approach. In this attempt a feasibility study has been recently activated on hyperthermochemotherapeutic pelvic wash in patients with resectable, locally advanced, cancer of the distal rectum.


Two alternative methods of hyperthermochemotherapeutic pelvic wash have been used in sequence. In the first method 3000 ml of warm (45°C) saline solution containing 30 mg of mitomycin C were injected into the pelvis both intraoperatively and in the immediate postoperative period. In the second method a 60-minute perfusion of the pelvic space with 2000 ml of heated (45°C) saline solution with 40 mg of mitomycin C was provided intraoperatively using an extracorporeal circuit.


Four patients submitted to abdominoperineal amputation with pelvic lymph node dissection have been treated following one of the two methods. No complications related to the treatment occurred. Either the first or the second hyperthermochemotherapeutic pelvic wash method showed a high regional pharmacokinetic advantage with a perfusate/ blood “AUCs” ratio of 576 and 374, respectively.


The potential role of hyperthermochemotherapeutic pelvic wash as an additional regional treatment in locally advanced rectal cancer and the differences between the two methods, in our limited experience, are discussed.

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