Surgical Oncology: Peritoneal Surface Malignancy

Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program

Peritoneal surface malignancies (PSM) refer to cancers that attach and spread through the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum). These cancers can originate from the colon, appendix, stomach, ovaries, pancreas, and other intra-abdominal organs. Treatment for PSM has changed dramatically over the past decade, with effective therapies that can control, or even cure this stage of cancer. The Division of Surgical Oncology, along with the oncologists, physicians, gynecologic oncologists, and scientists at the Stanford Cancer Center, evaluate patients for potential chemotherapeutic, radiation, surgical, and regional chemotherapeutic options.

HIPEC Surgery

HIPEC, or Heated Intraoperative Peritoneal Chemotherapy, is a method of delivering regional chemotherapy to the abdominal cavity. Rather than infusing the medications through a vein, the chemotherapy is circulated throughout the abdominal cavity at the time of surgery. This allows for direct delivery of the chemotherapy to the intended target, the peritoneal surface.

Prior to the HIPEC portion of the operation, surgeons will perform an extensive operation to remove and clear are visible tumor sites. This cytoreduction or debulking surgery can be extensive and require removal of organ sites. After the cytoreduction is complete, chemotherapy which has been heated to 105-109ºF (41-43ºC) is circulated for 60-90 minutes. After the circulation is completed, the chemotherapy is drained, and the surgeons complete the procedure.

The Stanford PSM team has extensive experience in cytoreductive surgeries and delivering intraperitoneal chemotherapy. While many of these procedures must be performed in an open surgical fashion, some patients may be a candidate for minimally invasive surgery utilizing laparoscopic or robotic techniques.

Becoming a Patient

Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC are treatments that are effective for cancers affecting the peritoneal cavity. Unfortunately, not every patient will be a candidate for the procedure. Cases will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team at the Stanford Cancer Center to determine the best treatment options and potential clinical trials. If you are a physician and would like to refer a patient, or if you are a patient who would like to be seen in consultation, please call (650) 498-6000.


Byrne Lee, MD FACS
Clinical Professor, Surgery - General Surgery

Clinic Information

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Stanford University School of Medicine

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What is HIPEC?