In 1891, an orthopedic surgeon in New York noted the disappearance of an inoperable sarcoma in a patient after a febrile illness. This observation resulted in experiments assessing the utility of heat therapy or thermotherapy for the treatment of cancer. While it initially fell from favor, thermotherapy has recently made a resurgence, sparking investigations into its anticancer properties.

This therapy is especially attractive for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) which is difficult to target due to the blood brain barrier and recalcitrant to treatment.

Recent developments show that heat is preferentially cytotoxic to tumor cells and induces cellular pathways which result in apoptotic and non-apoptotic death. Techniques to induce hyperthermia include regional hyperthermia by water bath, focused ultrasound, radiofrequency microwaves, laser-induced interstitial thermotherapy, and magnetic energy.

From bacterial toxins to infusion of magnetic nanoparticles, hyperthermia has the potential to be an effective and easy-to-execute adjuvant therapy for GBM. Hyperthermia for GBM is a promising therapy as part of a growing armamentarium for malignant glioma treatment 1).

see Stereotactic guided laser interstitial thermotherapy.

Lee Titsworth W, Murad GJ, Hoh BL, Rahman M. Fighting fire with fire: the revival of thermotherapy for gliomas. Anticancer Res. 2014 Feb;34(2):565-74.PubMed PMID: 24510985.
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