HIPEC for mesothelioma

You may be given chemotherapy into the abdomen during surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma. This is called HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy).

What is HIPEC?

If you are having surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma, your doctor may suggest having chemotherapy into the tummy (abdomen) during the surgery. This is called HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy).

This treatment is usually only suitable for a small number of people.

We have more information on mesothelioma treatment.

Having HIPEC

During the operation, the surgeon removes all, or most, of the tumours that they can see. They then wash out the area to remove any loose mesothelioma cells, and put chemotherapy into the tummy (abdomen). The chemotherapy drugs used are usually:

The chemotherapy is gently heated before being put in your tummy. This can help it work better for this type of cancer. The chemotherapy is left in place for around 60 to 90 minutes to give it time to work. It is then washed out.

Side effects of HIPEC

The side effects of giving chemotherapy this way can be different to chemotherapy into a vein. Your doctor or nurse will explain what to expect.

About our information

  • References

    Below is a sample of the sources used in our mesothelioma information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at cancerinformationteam@macmillan.org.uk

    Woolhouse I et al. British Thoracic Society Guideline for the investigation and management of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Thorax. 2018.

    Thomas A et al. Mesothelioma. BMJ Best Practice. 2019.

    Baas P et al. Malignant pleural mesothelioma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.  Annals of Oncology. 26 (Supplement 5): v31–v39. 2015. Available from: www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26223247

    Kusamara S et al. Peritoneal mesothelioma: PSOGI/EURACAN clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. European Journal of Surgical Oncology. March 2020.


  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Dr David Gilligan, Consultant Clinical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.