About Hyperthermia Cancer Treatment

Most of us have experienced the positive effects of a hot bath on aching muscles, or the balm of holiday sun on an English winter body. Heat just feels good.  Hyperthermia cancer treatment uses slightly higher temperatures to kill cancer cells.

We use heat for healing in many ways – for instance a hot water bottle on the tummy for period pains or a microwave-heated wheat-pack on stiff and aching neck muscles. From time immemorial we have benefited from sweating – from Turkish baths to the saunas in modern spas. The Egyptians treated tumors with heat back in 5,000 BC, and the principles of tumor-heating are now widely understood – that heat stimulates the tissue temperature, causing the body to react by dilating blood vessels, so that tissues get revitalized due to the improved circulation. One of the main principles of traditional Chinese medicine is that good circulation promotes health.

Way up at the other end of the scale is medically-supervised whole-body and localized hyperthermia. A much bigger gun altogether.

What are the different methods of hyperthermia?

Several methods of hyperthermia cancer treatment are currently under use being local, regional and systemic perfusion the most common ones.

Local hyperthermia, heat is applied to a small area, such as a tumor, using various techniques that deliver energy to heat the tumor.  learn more 

In regional hyperthermia, various approaches may be used to heat large areas of tissue, such as a body cavity, organ, or limb. learn more

Systemic Perfusion Hyperthermia All hyperthermia methods involve the transfer of heat into the body from an external heat source . learn more 

Hyperthermia and Cancer

The combination of immunotherapy with hyperthermia for treating cancer, however, is a particularly intriguing notion, as significant clinical effects of hyperthermia have been attributed to the immune system. The accepted view of the cancer-host immune interface is that tumors possess unique antigens that can be recognized by the immune system. After antigen uptake at tumor sites, APCs have the ability to create a robust response by entering lymphoid compartments and programming lymphocytes. Following generation and expansion to large numbers, cytotoxic lymphocytes then traffic to tumor sites for targeted cell killing.

Hyperthermia Cancer Treatment & Adaptive Tumor Immunity

To understand how temperature may influence the immune system, it is necessary to define the concept of hyperthermia. As the father of clinical thermometry, Wunderlich is credited with defining normal body temperatures at 37°C and describing a dynamic range of normal body temperatures with diurnal variations. Fever induces the elevation of the physiological set point of body temperature, increasing core body temperatures via specific thermo-effectors. Hyperthermia differs fundamentally from fever in that it elevates the core body temperature without changing the physiological set point.

Hyperthermia-induced Hsps as modulators of the immune system

Cellular functions of Hsps

Hsps were discovered in 1962 as a result of the accidental application of thermal stress to Drosophila preparations.

Hsps are a family of stress-induced proteins with several critical cellular functions, and are typically designated by their molecular weight.

Hsps are recognized as central mediators of a variety of cellular functions under physiological conditions, as they are key regulators of cellular protein activity, turnover and trafficking.

Hsps in cancer

Hsps are present in an abundance of tumor types and may function to confer several survival benefits to cancer cells.

There is evidence that a specific Hsp, Hsp70, directly inhibits apoptosis pathways in cancer cells. The synthesis and accumulation of Hsps in tumor cells exposed to hyperthermia afford protection from further heat-associated cytotoxic events, as the Hsps rescue or restore vital cellular proteins.

There is evidence that Hsps support the malignant phenotype of cancer cells by not only affecting the cells’ survival, but also participating in angiogenesis, invasion, metastasis and immortalization mechanisms. Contrary to the many benefits conferred upon tumor cells expressing high levels of Hsps, tumor cell dependence upon Hsps for several critical functions represents an attractive and potential therapeutic; a virtual Achilles’ heel.

Improvement of dendritic cell and NK-cell function by hyperthermia

Hsps and dendritic cell activation

The release of Hsps from tumor cells can serve as a potent activating signal for quiescent APCs. Accordingly, the ability to induce Dendritic Cell maturation seems directly proportional to the Hsp content of tumor cells. HSPs are able to mediate the cross-priming of tumor antigens. Cross-priming is the ability of extracellular Hsps complexed to tumor peptides to be internalized and presented in the context of MHC class I molecules on APCs, thus allowing potent priming of CTLs against tumor antigens. It has been reported that Hsps are generated from necrotic tumor cell lysates, but not from tumor cells undergoing apoptosis.

Necrotic tumor cell lysates enhance antigen cross-presentation more efficiently compared with early apoptotic tumor cells. Hyperthermia serves as a mediator of either tumor cell necrosis or apoptosis depending on the temperature used and the exposure time. Temperature, time and other factors associated with hyperthermia and cell killing have been comprehensively reviewed, and are likely to determine the mode of cell death. In tumor cells exposed to hyperthermia in the heat shock range (42°C for 4h) prior to lysing, DC activation and cross-priming were significantly enhanced with the application of heat. Enhanced cross-priming was directly attributed to increased expression of Hsps in hyperthermia-treated cells.


Insight into the mechanisms of hyperthermia and the influence of Hsps on the immune system has created a cornerstone for use in cancer treatment. A new emphasis on lymphocyte trafficking to lymphoid tissues, programming by DCs and chemoattraction to tumor sites are  supported by the pleiotropic effects of hyperthermia. The use of hyperthermia as an adjuvant to existing immune therapy regimens represents a non-toxic, readily achievable treatment to reinvigorate marginally efficacious protocols for the treatment of cancer.

Fever Range Hyperthermia

 Autologous Immune Enhancement Therapy

Bio-immune cellular therapy is the most advanced therapy of its kind. Throughout the extraction, manipulation and culture of specific linage of cells from the immune system (white blood cells) it is now possible to provide a high concentration of a particular cell line, such as Dendritic cells, NK cells, CD34. These cells improve, enhance, reinforce and balance the immune response needed to fight disease. Their proven uses array from autoimmune disorders, chronic infections, HIV to Cancer. learn more

Systemic Ozone Therapy

Unlike healthy human cells that love oxygen, cancer cells are anaerobic, i.e. cannot live in high oxygen concentrations. Overexposure to oxygen in tumor cells, also known as the Hypothermic Ozonification, results in over-acidification of the heated cells and a consequent nutrient deficiency in the tumor Cellular metabolism is destroyed, resulting in apoptosis (dell death) of the tumor cells. lean more

Laetrile Vitamin B17

Laetrile is natural and powerful anti-tumor agent found in over 1,200 plants, and is best known for its ability to prevent metastases without collateral damage to healthy normal cells. learn more

IV Vitamin C

Research investigators at the National Institute of Health report that the anticancer mechanism responsible for Vitamin C involves production of hydrogen peroxide, which is selectively toxic to cancer cells. learn more


Laboratory studies show selenium is a powerful antioxidant that can inhibit the growth of breast, cervical, colon, and skin cancer, promotes cancer cell death (apoptosis), acts as a protective agent against many types of cancers, and improves quality of life during aggressive cancer therapies. learn more


Melatonin can kill directly many different types of human tumor cells. It is a naturally produced cytotoxin, which can induce tumor cell death (apoptosis). In instances where the tumor has already established itself in the body, melatonin has been shown to inhibit the tumor’s growth rate. Melatonin exhibits natural oncostatic activity and inhibits cancer cell growth.  learn more

For more information about how hyperthermia can be used as part of a successful program, contact us.