What is intraperitoneal chemothearpy?
Ovarian cancer, unlike most other cancers, does not spread through the blood stream and remains localized to the peritoneal or abdominal cavity for most of the time.
Ovarian cancer chemotherapy is usually given directly into the blood stream by a cannulae in a vein (intravenous or IV therapy). A newer treatment gives the therapy straight into the peritoneal or abdominal cavity (intraperitoneal or IP therapy).
An advantage of IP therapy compared to the intravenous (IV)IV route is that higher doses of the drugs can be given directly to the areas at highest risk for tumour involvement.
IP chemotherapy is administered through a small, soft, flexible catheter, which is surgically placed in the peritoneal cavity, often at the time of the initial surgery. The IP catheter can be safely left in place for several months at a time.
Advantages of IP Therapy Include:
- Longer remission time: Patients who receive IP therapy have an extra 5.5 months of remission before the cancer returns, on average
- Longer survival time if the cancer returns: After the cancer returns and with further treatment, patients who were originally treated with IP therapy survive an extra 15.9 months, on average
The Disadvantages of IP Therapy Include:
- IP treatment is given twice every 3 weeks, compared to once every 3 weeks for IV therapy
- There is a higher number of treatment related side effects and most patients are not able to complete all the treatments
- The catheter itself can cause problems, including infection, blockage or leakage