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Hyperthermia Therapy

Researchers in the Division of Translational Radiation Sciences (DTRS) are working to elucidate the biologic bases underlying the effectiveness of heat in enhancing the therapeutic action of radiation in cancer.


Jason Kyle Molitoris, MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Medical Director, UMMC
Director, Hyperthermia Therapy Program

Dario Rodrigues, PhD (he/him)
Assistant Professor
Lead Hyperthermia Physicist

Zeljko Vujaskovic, MD, PhD
Adjunct Professor (Volunteer)

Patients in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Maryland are already being treated with hyperthermia therapy for a range of cancers, including breast cancer with chest wall recurrence and other cancers near the skin surface. The heat sensitizes tumor cells to both radiation and chemotherapy. Other types of thermal treatments for cancer include hyperthermic interperitoneal chemotherapy, which uses heated chemotherapy in combination with surgery to treat cancers that have spread to the lining of the abdomen, and radiofrequency thermal ablation, used for the treatment of liver tumors.

DTRS researchers are looking at novel hyperthermia therapy applications and at the scientific bases that underlie the effectiveness of these treatments. Of special interest is the potential role of hyperthermia therapy in enhancing the effects of proton therapy. In 2016 Dr. Vujaskovic received the 2016 J. Eugene Robinson Award from the Society for Thermal Medicine for his contributions to hyperthermic oncology.


  1. Snider JW 3rd, Datta NR, Vujaskovic Z. Hyperthermia and radiotherapy in bladder cancer. Int J Hyperthermia. 2016 Jun;32(4):398-406.
  2. Boggs DH, Guerrero M, Patel K, Chen S, Moeslein F, Amin P, Vujaskovic Z. Pelvic local recurrence in a patient with muscle-invasive bladder cancer treated with interstitial thermal therapy and interstitial brachytherapy. Pract Radiat Oncol. 2015 Sep-Oct;5(5):e483-7.
  3. Zagar TM, Vujaskovic Z, Formenti S, Rugo H, Muggia F, O'Connor B, Myerson R, Stauffer P, Hsu IC, Diederich C, Straube W, Boss MK, Boico A, Craciunescu O, Maccarini P, Needham D, Borys N, Blackwell KL, Dewhirst MW. Two phase I dose-escalation/pharmacokinetics studies of low temperature liposomal doxorubicin (LTLD) and mild local hyperthermia in heavily pretreated patients with local regionally recurrent breast cancer. Int J Hyperthermia. 2014 Aug;30(5):285-94.
  4. Juang T, Stauffer PR, Craciunescu OA, Maccarini PF, Yuan Y, Das SK, Dewhirst MW, Inman BA, Vujaskovic Z. Thermal dosimetry characteristics of deep regional heating of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Int J Hyperthermia. 2014 May;30(3):176-83.
  5. Inman BA, Stauffer PR, Craciunescu OA, Maccarini PF, Dewhirst MW, Vujaskovic Z. A pilot clinical trial of intravesical mitomycin-C and external deep pelvic hyperthermia for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Int J Hyperthermia. 2014 May;30(3):171-5.
  6. Myerson RJ, Moros EG, Diederich CJ, Haemmerich D, Hurwitz MD, Hsu IC, McGough RJ, Nau WH, Straube WL, Turner PF, Vujaskovic Z, Stauffer PR. Components of a hyperthermia clinic: recommendations for staffing, equipment, and treatment monitoring. Int J Hyperthermia. 2014 Feb;30(1):1-5.
  7. Yuan Y, Cheng KS, Craciunescu OI, Stauffer PR, Maccarini PF, Arunachalam K, Vujaskovic Z, Dewhirst MW, Das SK. Utility of treatment planning for thermochemotherapy treatment of nonmuscle invasive bladder carcinoma. Med Phys. 2012 Mar;39(3):1170-81.
  8. Rampersaud EN, Vujaskovic Z, Inman BA. Hyperthermia as a treatment for bladder cancer. Oncology (Williston Park). 2010 Nov 15;24(12):1149-55. Review.
  9. Zagar TM, Higgins KA, Miles EF, Vujaskovic Z, Dewhirst MW, Clough RW, Prosnitz LR, Jones EL. Durable palliation of breast cancer chest wall recurrence with radiation therapy, hyperthermia, and chemotherapy. Radiother Oncol. 2010 Dec;97(3):535-40.
  10. Stauffer PR, Maccarini P, Arunachalam K, Craciunescu O, Diederich C, Juang T, Rossetto F, Schlorff J, Milligan A, Hsu J, Sneed P, Vujaskovic Z. Conformal microwave array (CMA) applicators for hyperthermia of diffuse chest wall recurrence. Int J Hyperthermia. 2010;26(7):686-98. Review.
  11. Craciunescu OI, Thrall DE, Vujaskovic Z, Dewhirst MW. Magnetic resonance imaging: a potential tool in assessing the addition of hyperthermia to neoadjuvant therapy in patients with locally advanced breast cancer. Int J Hyperthermia. 2010;26(7):625-37. Review.
  12. Zagar TM, Oleson JR, Vujaskovic Z, Dewhirst MW, Craciunescu OI, Blackwell KL, Prosnitz LR, Jones EL. Hyperthermia for locally advanced breast cancer. Int J Hyperthermia. 2010;26(7):618-24. Review.
  13. Zagar TM, Oleson JR, Vujaskovic Z, Dewhirst MW, Craciunescu OI, Blackwell KL, Prosnitz LR, Jones EL. Hyperthermia combined with radiation therapy for superficial breast cancer and chest wall recurrence: a review of the randomised data. Int J Hyperthermia. 2010;26(7):612-7. Review.
  14. Issels RD, Lindner LH, Verweij J, Wust P, Reichardt P, Schem BC, Abdel-Rahman S, Daugaard S, Salat C, Wendtner CM, Vujaskovic Z, Wessalowski R, Jauch KW, Dürr HR, Ploner F, Baur-Melnyk A, Mansmann U, Hiddemann W, Blay JY, Hohenberger P; European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group (EORTC-STBSG).; European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology (ESHO).. Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy alone or with regional hyperthermia for localised high-risk soft-tissue sarcoma: a randomised phase 3 multicentre study. Lancet Oncol. 2010 Jun;11(6):561-70.
  15. Vujaskovic Z, Kim DW, Jones E, Lan L, McCall L, Dewhirst MW, Craciunescu O, Stauffer P, Liotcheva V, Betof A, Blackwell K. A phase I/II study of neoadjuvant liposomal doxorubicin, paclitaxel, and hyperthermia in locally advanced breast cancer. Int J Hyperthermia. 2010;26(5):514-21.
  16. Dewhirst MW, Thrall DE, Palmer G, Schroeder T, Vujaskovic Z, Cecil Charles H, Macfall J, Wong T. Utility of functional imaging in prediction or assessment of treatment response and prognosis following thermotherapy. Int J Hyperthermia. 2010;26(3):283-93.
  17. Craciunescu OI, Stauffer PR, Soher BJ, Wyatt CR, Arabe O, Maccarini P, Das SK, Cheng KS, Wong TZ, Jones EL, Dewhirst MW, Vujaskovic Z, MacFall JR. Accuracy of real time noninvasive temperature measurements using magnetic resonance thermal imaging in patients treated for high grade extremity soft tissue sarcomas. Med Phys. 2009 Nov;36(11):4848-58.
  18. Craciunescu OI, Blackwell KL, Jones EL, Macfall JR, Yu D, Vujaskovic Z, Wong TZ, Liotcheva V, Rosen EL, Prosnitz LR, Samulski TV, Dewhirst MW. DCE-MRI parameters have potential to predict response of locally advanced breast cancer patients to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and hyperthermia: a pilot study. Int J Hyperthermia. 2009;25(6):405-15.
  19. Stauffer P, Craciunescu O, Maccarini P, Wyatt C, Arunachalam K, Arabe O, Stakhursky V, Li Z, Soher B, Macfall J, Rangarao S, Cheng K, Das S, Martins C, Charles C, Dewhirst M, Wong T, Jones E, Vujaskovic Z. Clinical Utility of Magnetic Resonance Thermal Imaging (MRTI) For Realtime Guidance of Deep Hyperthermia. Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng. 2009 Feb 25;7181.
  20. Sugahara T, van der Zee J, Kampinga HH, Vujaskovic Z, Kondo M, Ohnishi T, Li G, Park HJ, Leeper DB, Ostapenko V, Repasky EA, Watanabe M, Song CW. Kadota Fund International Forum 2004. Application of thermal stress for the improvement of health, 15-18 June 2004, Awaji Yumebutai International Conference Center, Awaji Island, Hyogo, Japan. Final report. Int J Hyperthermia. 2008 Mar;24(2):123-40.
  21. Lora-Michiels M, Yu D, Sanders L, Poulson JM, Azuma C, Case B, Vujaskovic Z, Thrall DE, Charles HC, Dewhirst MW. Extracellular pH and P-31 magnetic resonance spectroscopic variables are related to outcome in canine soft tissue sarcomas treated with thermoradiotherapy. Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Oct 1;12(19):5733-40.
  22. Jones E, Alvarez Secord A, Prosnitz LR, Samulski TV, Oleson JR, Berchuck A, Clarke-Pearson D, Soper J, Dewhirst MW, Vujaskovic Z. Intra-peritoneal cisplatin and whole abdomen hyperthermia for relapsed ovarian carcinoma. Int J Hyperthermia. 2006 Mar;22(2):161-72.
  23. Jackson IL, Batinic-Haberle I, Sonveaux P, Dewhirst MW, Vujaskovic Z. ROS production and angiogenic regulation by macrophages in response to heat therapy. Int J Hyperthermia. 2006 Jun;22(4):263-73.
  24. Jones E, Thrall D, Dewhirst MW, Vujaskovic Z. Prospective thermal dosimetry: the key to hyperthermia's future. Int J Hyperthermia. 2006 May;22(3):247-53. Review.
  25. Ponce AM, Vujaskovic Z, Yuan F, Needham D, Dewhirst MW. Hyperthermia mediated liposomal drug delivery. Int J Hyperthermia. 2006 May;22(3):205-13.
  26. Dewhirst MW, Vujaskovic Z, Jones E, Thrall D. Re-setting the biologic rationale for thermal therapy. Int J Hyperthermia. 2005 Dec;21(8):779-90. Review.
  27. Jones EL, Oleson JR, Prosnitz LR, Samulski TV, Vujaskovic Z, Yu D, Sanders LL, Dewhirst MW. Randomized trial of hyperthermia and radiation for superficial tumors. J Clin Oncol. 2005 May 1;23(13):3079-85.
  28. Dewhirst MW, Poulson JM, Yu D, Sanders L, Lora-Michiels M, Vujaskovic Z, Jones EL, Samulski TV, Powers BE, Brizel DM, Prosnitz LR, Charles HC. Relation between pO2, 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy parameters and treatment outcome in patients with high-grade soft tissue sarcomas treated with thermoradiotherapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2005 Feb 1;61(2):480-91.
  29. Poulson JM, Vujaskovic Z, Gaskin AA, Larue SM, Meyer RE, Prescott DM, Samulski TV, Thrall DE, Dewhirst MW. Effect of calcitonin gene related peptide vs sodium nitroprusside to increase temperature in spontaneous canine tumours during local hyperthermia. Int J Hyperthermia. 2004 Aug;20(5):477-89.
  30. Jones EL, Prosnitz LR, Dewhirst MW, Marcom PK, Hardenbergh PH, Marks LB, Brizel DM, Vujaskovic Z. Thermochemoradiotherapy improves oxygenation in locally advanced breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2004 Jul 1;10(13):4287-93.
  31. Vujaskovic Z, Song CW. Physiological mechanisms underlying heat-induced radiosensitization. Int J Hyperthermia. 2004 Mar;20(2):163-74. Review.
  32. Vujaskovic Z, Rosen EL, Blackwell KL, Jones EL, Brizel DM, Prosnitz LR, Samulski TV, Dewhirst MW. Ultrasound guided pO2 measurement of breast cancer reoxygenation after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and hyperthermia treatment. Int J Hyperthermia. 2003 Sep-Oct;19(5):498-506.
  33. Vujaskovic Z, Poulson JM, Gaskin AA, Thrall DE, Page RL, Charles HC, MacFall JR, Brizel DM, Meyer RE, Prescott DM, Samulski TV, Dewhirst MW. Temperature-dependent changes in physiologic parameters of spontaneous canine soft tissue sarcomas after combined radiotherapy and hyperthermia treatment. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2000 Jan 1;46(1):179-85.
  34. Vujaskovic Z, Powers BE, Paardekoper G, Gillette SM, Gillette EL, Colacchio TA. Effects of intraoperative irradiation (IORT) and intraoperative hyperthermia (IOHT) on canine sciatic nerve: histopathological and morphometric studies. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1999 Mar 15;43(5):1103-9.
  35. Vujaskovic Z, Gillette SM, Powers BE, Stukel TA, Larue SM, Gillette EL, Borak TB, Scott RJ, Weiss J, Colacchio TA. Effects of intraoperative irradiation and intraoperative hyperthermia on canine sciatic nerve: neurologic and electrophysiologic study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1996 Jan 1;34(1):125-31.
  36. Vujaskovic Z, McChesney Gillette S, Powers BE, Gillette EL, Scott RJ, Whalen RL, Ryan TP, Colacchio TA. Effects of intraoperative hyperthermia on canine sciatic nerve: histopathologic and morphometric studies. Int J Hyperthermia. 1994 Nov-Dec;10(6):845-55.
  37. Vujaskovic Z, Gillette SM, Powers BE, LaRue SM, Gillette EL, Borak TB, Scott RJ, Ryan TP, Colacchio TA. Effects of intraoperative hyperthermia on peripheral nerves: neurological and electrophysiological studies. Int J Hyperthermia. 1994 Jan-Feb;10(1):41-9.