Stop-flow technique for loco-regional delivery of high dose chemotherapy in the treatment of advanced pelvic cancers

E. Strocchi, R. V. Iaffaioli, G. Facchini, G. Mantovani, S. Ricci, G. Cavallo, A. Tortoriello, R. D'Angelo, R. Formato, G. Rosato, F. Fiore, V. Iaccarino, G. Petrella, B. Memoli, M. Santangelo, C. M. Camaggi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim. To verify the rationale of a pelvic stop-flow technique for the perfusion of high-doses of mitomycin C and anthacyclines in patients with inoperable, recurrent pelvic cancer. Methods. The stop-flow technique was realized by using percutaneous double-balloon arterial-venous catheters that selectively isolate the pelvic vascular section and a perfusion provided by an extracorporeal pump for 20 min. Ten patients (pts) with unresectable pelvic recurrence from colon-rectal cancer were treated with a combination of Mitomycin C (MMC, 20 mg/sqm) plus doxorubicin (DOXO, 75 mg/sqm; 8 pts) or epirubicin (EPI, 75 mg/sqm; 2 pts) infused into the isolated pelvic compartment. Blood samples were collected from the extracorporeal vascular flow and fromipheral plasma, and analysed for drug quantitation. Results. During the procedure, there were no technical or hemodynamic complications, and no deaths occurred during surgery or in the postoperative period. MMC and DOXO peak levels measured in the extracorporeal system which irrotates the tumor area, were on average 21.6 (range: 4.3-44.3, MMC) and 17.2 (range: 1.8-48.4, DOXO) times higher than those observed in the peripheral blood. Similarly; the area under concentration (AUC) versus time curves measured in the pelvic compartment during stop-flow perfusion were 19.9 (range: 3.8-45.0, MMC) and 13.4 (range: 1.2-26.6, DOXO) times higher than the corresponding value in peripheral circulation. The drug percentage eliminated in the ultra filtrate was only 7.7% (MMC) and 0.9% (DOXO), and the plasmatic AUC 0-24 were similar to those observed with iv bolus of equivalent drug doses. Minimal systemic and local toxicities were observed. One complete pathological and 2 partial responses were observed; pain remission in 8/10 patients. Median survival was 12 months (8-31). Conclusion. The endo-arterial administration into the local vasculature produces high pelvic-systemic concentration gradients during the stop-flow perfusion with limited local and systemic toxicity. The encouraging clinical results suggest further evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-670
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


  • Colo-rectal cancer
  • Doxorubicin
  • Mitomycin
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Regional perfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Surgery


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