Hyperthermic Therapy for Cats and Dogs with Cancer
Hyperthermia (also called thermal therapy) refers to a technique that exposes tumors to high temperatures (up to 113°F) in
hopes of destroying the cancer cells. Its significance became apparent in a number of human clinical trials that showed that
adding hyperthermia to radiation therapy resulted in a better outcome than radiation therapy alone. Nevertheless,
hyperthermia remains largely an experimental treatment and may be only available through clinical trials.

There are a variety of methods and devices used for inducing hyperthermia. In local hyperthermia, heat is applied to the
tumor site using various energy sources such as microwave, radiofrequency, or ultrasound. In order to treat tumors that
are located in or just below the skin, external applicators are positioned around the appropriate region to focus the heat on
the tumor. In order to treat tumors that are located inside body cavities such as the rectum, probes are placed inside the
cavity and inserted into the tumor.

In regional hyperthermia, various approaches may be used to heat larger areas of tissue, such as an entire organ or a limb
External applicators are positioned around the body cavity or organ to be treated, and microwave or radiofrequency
energy is focused on the area to raise its temperature.

The effectiveness of hyperthermia treatment is related to the temperature achieved during the treatment, as well as the
length of treatment and cell and tissue characteristics. To ensure that the desired temperature is reached, but not
exceeded, the temperature of the tumor and surrounding tissue is monitored throughout hyperthermia treatment.

  • Withrow Stephen J, and David M. Vail. Small Animal Clinical Oncology. St Louis: Saunders Elsevier, 2007.
  • Morrison Wallace B. Cancer in Dogs and Cats: Medical and Surgical Management. Baltimore: Williams&Wilkins, 1998.
Comprehensive guide to cancer diagnosis and treatment in cats and dogs
© 2007 Pet Cancer Center. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Last updated 2/19/017