Trial Shows Improved Overall Survival for Patients with Liver Cancer not Amenable to Surgery

The gist: This article describes the results of a clinical trial—a research study with volunteer patients. The goal of the trial was to test a new treatment for people with inoperable advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The new treatment combines two existing treatments: a chemotherapy drug called sorafenib and Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT). The results of the trial showed improved survival for the patients who participated. The new treatment will continue to be tested in the hopes that it may prove good enough to be widely used to treat advanced HCC.

“The mature results from a trial conducted by the Asia-Pacific Hepatocellular Carcinoma Trials Group led by the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and Singapore General Hospital (SGH) have shown that patients who suffer from inoperable advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) may have a chance to live significantly longer by using a combined therapy.

“The multi-centre phase II clinical trial was conducted at four Asia Pacific tertiary medical centres to evaluate the efficacy of combining two existing treatment modalities, Sorafenib and Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT). The combination therapy involves starting patients on SIRT using SIR-Spheres microspheres, a medical device that contains radioactive microspheres labeled with yttrium-90 for short range high energy radiation therapy, followed by systemic therapy with an oral chemotherapy drug, Sorafenib, 14 days later.

“The mature results of the trial published recently in a peer-reviewed journal, PLOS ONE, show that median overall survival was 20.3 months for patients with intermediate stage HCC and 8.6 months for patients with advanced liver cancer. These final results were better than the preliminary data released in 2010.”