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Implanted Chemotherapy "Pump" As Standard Treatment for Liver Metastases Presented at the Society of Surgical Oncology Cancer Symposium

PHILADELPHIA (March 13, 2000) -- The use of an implanted chemotherapy pump to treat cancer that has spread to the liver will be presented at the Society of Surgical Oncology's 53rd Annual Cancer Symposium by Elin R. Sigurdson, M.D., Ph.D. of Fox Chase Cancer Center on Thursday, March 16 in New Orleans, La.

Dr. Sigurdson will present research from two large studies which show a significant increase in survival rates when an implanted "pump" is used to deliver chemotherapy after surgery for liver metastases from colorectal cancer. Medical oncologists recently determined the results warranted an immediate change in the standard treatment of hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer.

The chemotherapy arterial infusion pump is implanted during liver surgery. It is the size of a pacemaker and is implanted under the skin near the liver. The pump distributes the chemotherapy directly to the liver through the main artery to the liver. Surgery alone was the previous standard treatment for liver metastases from colorectal cancer.

Fox Chase Cancer Center participated in one of the two studies where surgery alone was compared with surgery plus chemotherapy infusion via the arterial pump. After three years, 58 percent of those who were treated with the chemotherapy pump had no recurrence. Thirty-four percent of those receiving surgery alone had no recurrence.

"This has dramatically changed the outlook for thousands of patients," said Dr. Sigurdson, Director of Surgical Research at Fox Chase. "Fortunately, at Fox Chase Cancer Center, the chemotherapy pump has been used routinely for several years. Our doctors have extensive experience in using it."

A separate study supports the effectiveness of the chemotherapy arterial infusion pump versus the standard infusion procedure. In that study, the survival rates of surgery plus the chemotherapy pump were compared to surgery plus standard chemotherapy infusion. These results also showed an increased survival rate when the pump was used. Disease-free recurrence at two years for the pump was 85 percent versus 69 percent for those receiving standard infusion.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at:

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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