Professor Christopher Christophi, Mr Vijayaragavan Muralidharan, Professor Arthur Shulkes
Bowel cancer is a major health problem in Australia with over 12,000
new cases diagnosed annually. Despite the best medical and surgical
care, approximately 5,000 patients die from bowel cancer each year,
predominantly due to spread to the liver.
In patients with
liver spread, tumour eradication by either surgically removing or
destroying the tumours is currently the only way to achieve possible
cure. Destroying tumours by local (focal) application of heat
(hyperthermia) is a particularly attractive treatment option. It can be
performed on a day surgery basis, produces little discomfort and can be
used in far more patients than those suitable for surgery.
major problem with local application of heat to tumours is the high
incidence of recurrences following therapy. This is also the major
problem encountered with surgical removal of tumours. The recurrences
following heat application are usually at the site of treatment or in
other regions of the liver. The major limitations with focal
hyperthermia in the treatment of liver tumours is a limited volume of
tumour that can be destroyed and treatment may potentially modify
tumour behaviour by altering growth and distribution patterns.
project aims to investigate the factors involved in destruction of
liver tumours following heat application and identify ways to maximize
the area of tumour destroyed. In addition, it investigates patterns of
tumour spread and growth following therapy and the mechanisms involved
in this process.
These experiments could have a major impact on
the treatment of liver cancer by identifying methods that ensure
complete tumour destruction following heat application and prevent
recurrences both at the treatment site and elsewhere in the liver.
Focal hyperthermia has the potential to replace liver operations as the
preferred treatment option in patients with liver tumours from bowel
cancer spread, with overall significant patient and socio-economic