Original Article

Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology

, Volume 63, Issue 5, pp 799-805

First online:

A pharmacologic analysis of intraoperative intracavitary cancer chemotherapy with doxorubicin

  • Kurt Van der SpeetenAffiliated withDepartment of Surgical Oncology, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg Email author 
  • , O. A. StuartAffiliated withWashington Cancer Institute, Washington Hospital Center
  • , H. MahtemeAffiliated withDepartment of Surgical Sciences, Section of Surgery, Akademiska Sjukhuset, Uppsala University Hospital
  • , P. H. SugarbakerAffiliated withWashington Cancer Institute, Washington Hospital Center

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A pharmacologic analysis of intracavitary doxorubicin in the treatment of patients with intracavitary cancer dissemination was performed to further evaluate the possible benefits of this treatment modality.


Twenty appendiceal malignancy patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC), three appendiceal malignancy patients with direct extension into the pleural cavity, 20 patients with peritoneal mesothelioma and one patient with pleural mesothelioma were available for pharmacologic monitoring. After intraperitoneal or intrapleural administration of doxorubicin, plasma and peritoneal fluid samples were obtained at 15, 30, 45, 60 and 90 min in all patients. After intrapleural administration, plasma and pleural fluid samples were collected at similar intervals. Tumor and normal tissues were obtained when available. Doxorubicin concentrations were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).


Intraperitoneal doxorubicin showed a prolonged retention in the peritoneal cavity. Doxorubicin concentrations in tumor tissue were consistently elevated above intraperitoneal concentrations from 30 through 90 min. For appendiceal malignancy, the concentrations of doxorubicin were significantly higher in minimally aggressive mucinous tumors. Pleural chemotherapy solutions retained doxorubicin to a greater extent than peritoneal fluid.


Doxorubicin shows characteristics favorable for intracavitary administration with sequestration of doxorubicin in cancer nodules.


Intraperitoneal chemotherapy Intrapleural chemotherapy Doxorubicin Pharmacokinetics Pharmacodynamics Appendiceal cancer Peritoneal mesothelioma Pleural mesothelioma