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High volume intraperitoneal chemotherapy (“Belly bath”) for ovarian cancer

Pharmacologic basis and early results

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  • Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy
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The currently accepted therapies for ovarian cancer have produced only limited numbers of extended complete remissions in advanced-stage disease. Studies of high-volume intraperitoneal chemotherapy have been initiated to define the toxicology, pharmacokinetics, and the therapeutic effectiveness of this treatment modality. This technique has been virtually ignored until recently, because little success has been achieved with it except in one study (Rutledge, 1966), in which large intraperitoneal fluid volumes were used. The general lack of success probably reflects inadequate attention to physiologic and pharmacologic principles of drug distribution and absorption in a space as large as the peritoneal cavity. Biomedical engineers, pharmacologists, and clinicians at the NCI have cooperated in the development of a rational chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Following mathematical pharmacokinetic modeling and toxicologic studies in rat, a Phase I clinical trial of intraperitoneal methotrexate administered in large volumes of dialysis fluid was initiated. Results in three patients confirm the practicality of this approach, and further investigation is warranted.

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Clinical Pharmacology Branch, Division of Cancer Treatment

Laboratory of Toxicology, Division of Cancer Treatment

Biomedical Engineering and Instrumentation Branch, Division of Research Services

Medicine Branch, Division of Cancer Treatment

Division of Cancer Treatment

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Jones, R.B., Myers, C.E., Guarino, A.M. et al. High volume intraperitoneal chemotherapy (“Belly bath”) for ovarian cancer. Cancer Chemother. Pharmacol. 1, 161–166 (1978).

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