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Hyperthermia and the Therapy of Malignant Tumors

Recent Results in Cancer Research Volume 104, 1987, pp 24-70

The Biological Basis for Tumour Therapy by Hyperthermia and Radiation

C. Streffer, D. van Beuningen


The use of hyperthermia in treatment of cancers has a long tradition. One of the oldest medical texts describes the treatment of a breast tumour with hyperthermia.

The description is found in the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus; an Egyptian papyrus roll which can be dated back to about 3000 B. C. (Breasted 1930; Overgaard 1985). Treatment with hyperthermia is also mentioned in medical reports of greek physicians. Parmenides believed that he could cure all illnesses including tumours if he had the ability to induce fever. Hippocrates described the favourable role of fever: “Quae medicamenta non sanant, ferum sanat. Quae ferum non sanat, ignis sanat. Quae vero ignis non sanat, insanobilia repotari oportet”.