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Biological Rationales and Clinical Applications of Temperature Controlled Hyperthermia - Implications for Multimodal Cancer Treatments

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Hyperthermia (HT) - heating the tumor in the range of 40.0- 44.0 °C - combined with radiation (RT) and/or chemotherapy (CT) is a well proven treatment for malignant tumors. The improvement of the techniques for monitoring and adapting of the desired temperatures even in deep seated tumors has led to a renaissance of, now quality-controlled, HT in multimodal tumor therapy approaches. Randomized clinical trials have shown improved disease-free survival and local tumor control without an increase in toxicity for the combined treatment. In this review, we will focus on biological rationales of HT comprising direct cytotoxicity, systemic effects, chemosensitization, radiosensitization, and immune modulation. The latter is a prerequisite for the control of recurrent tumors and micrometastases. Immunogenic tumor cell death forms induced by HT will be introduced. Modulations of the cytotoxic properties of chemotherapeutic agents by HT as well as synergistic effects of HT with RT will be presented in the context of the main aims of anti-tumor therapy. Furthermore, modern techniques for thermal mapping like magnet resonance imaging will be outlined. The effectiveness of HT will be demonstrated by reviewing recent clinical trials applying HT in addition to CT and/or RT. We conclude that hyperthermia is a very potent radio- as well as chemosensitizer, which fosters the induction of immunogenic dead tumor cells leading to local and in special cases also to systemic tumor control.
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Keywords: Hyperthermia; anti-tumor immunity; cancer; chemotherapeutics; danger signals; immunogenic cell death; magnetic resonance images; radiotherapy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital Erlangen, Universitatsstr. 27, 91054 Erlangen, Germany.

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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