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Int J Clin Oncol. 2013 Jun;18(3):364-70. doi: 10.1007/s10147-013-0537-6. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Old but new methods in radiation oncology: hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Osaka University, 2-2 D10, Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka, 565-0871, Japan.


The presence of hypoxic tumor cells is widely regarded as one of the main reasons behind the failure to control malignant tumors with radiotherapy treatments. Since hyperbaric oxygenation (HBO) improves the oxygen supply to the hypoxic tumor cells, HBO therapy has previously been used in combination with simultaneous radiotherapy to treat malignant tumors. In some clinical trials, significant improvements in local control and survival have been seen in cancers of the head and neck and the uterine cervix. However, the delivery of simultaneous HBO therapy and radiotherapy is both complex and time-consuming, with some trials reporting increased side effects. As a result, the regimen of HBO therapy in combination with simultaneous radiotherapy has yet to be used as a standard treatment for malignant tumors. In recent years, however, radiotherapy immediately after HBO therapy has been emerging as an attractive approach for overcoming hypoxia in cancer treatment. Several studies have reported that radiotherapy immediately after HBO therapy was safe and seemed to be effective in patients with high-grade gliomas. Also, this approach may protect normal tissues from radiation injury. To accurately estimate whether the delivery of radiotherapy immediately after HBO therapy can be beneficial in patients with high-grade gliomas and other cancers, further prospective studies are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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