Hyperthermia combined with radiation therapy for superficial breast cancer and chest wall recurrence: A review of the randomised data
Hyperthermia has long been used in combination with radiation for the treatment of superficial malignancies, in part due to its radiosensitising capabilities. Patients who suffer superficial recurrences of breast cancer, be it in their chest wall following mastectomy, or in their breast after breast conservation, typically have poor clinical outcomes. They often develop distant metastatic disease, but one must not overlook the problems associated with an uncontrolled local failure. Morbidity is enormous, and can significantly impair quality of life. There is no accepted standard of care in treating superficial recurrences of breast cancer, particularly in patients that have previously been irradiated. There is a substantial literature regarding the combined use of hyperthermia and radiotherapy for these superficial recurrences. Most of it is retrospective in nature, but there are several larger phase III randomised trials that show an improved rate of clinical complete response in patients treated with both modalities. In this review article, we will highlight the important prospective data that has been published regarding the combined use of hyperthermia and radiation.