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Regional Perfusion Therapy for Pleural Cavity Tumors

Inside the chest are layers of thin tissue, or membranes, called pleura. Pleura wraps around the lungs like an envelope and lines the inside of the chest. The space between these tissue layers is the pleural cavity.

When a mass of abnormal cells or tissue grows in this space, it's called a pleural cavity tumor.

Types of Pleural Cavity Tumors

Doctors define primary pleural cavity tumors as those that start in the pleural cavity, instead of somewhere else. These tumors are rare.

People with primary pleural cavity tumors might have:

  • Mesothelioma: cancer that grows in the tissue around the lungs. Doctors diagnose about 3,300 people with mesothelioma in the U.S. each year. Many of these people worked with or had contact with asbestos, a material used to make insulation.
  • Solitary fibrous tumors: rare tumors that develop in the pleura. These tumors may or may not be cancerous.

Doctors define secondary or metastatic pleural cavity tumors as those that spread to the pleural cavity from other parts of the body. People with these tumors have more advanced cancer that's harder to treat.

These tumors sometimes cause malignant pleural effusion, a condition in which extra fluid is present in the pleural cavity. Pleural effusion might make you feel short of breath or cause you to cough.

Perfusion Treatment For Pleural Cavity Tumors

Many people with cancer respond well to traditional chemotherapy. However, people with advanced cancers require special treatments.

Intrapleural chemotherapy

With intrapleural chemotherapy, the drugs go right into the pleural cavity instead of through the bloodstream.

To do this, doctors insert a catheter, or tube, into the chest to deliver the chemo directly into the pleural cavity.

Hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy (HITHOC)

Hyperthermic pleural perfusion is an advanced surgical technique by which very high doses of heated chemotherapy are given directly into the pleural cavity to treat advanced cancers that have spread along the inner lining of the chest cavity.

It is generally used in combination with and immediately after a specialized surgical procedure called cytoreductive surgery (CRS).

The aim of CRS is to surgically remove all visible cancer nodules, while the aim of hyperthermic pleural perfusion is to treat small cancer nodules or invisible (microscopic) cancer cells that may be left behind after CRS.

During HITHOC, chemo is heated to between 105 and 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, they add the heated chemo to the pleural cavity through a catheter and remove it with a different catheter.

Potential Risks Of Perfusion Therapy

As with any procedure, regional perfusion therapy may put you at risk for complications, including:

  • Heart problems.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Infection at the catheter site.

Talk with your doctor about whether regional perfusion therapy is right for you.

Learn More About Regional Perfusion Therapy