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Breakthrough doubles survival period of liver cancer patients

Breakthrough doubles survival period of liver cancer patients

Posted March. 02, 2012 01:32,   


Korean researchers have doubled the survival period of terminal liver cancer patients with a combination of existing treatments.

A team of doctors led by Park Joong-won of the National Cancer Center employed embolization and targeted therapy to treat liver cancer patients. Embolization removes blood vessels that supply nutrients to cancer cells, and the targeted therapy generally uses the chemotherapy drug Nexava to prevent such blood vessels from being created.

This new therapy was used on 50 liver cancer patients who cannot receive surgery due to their serious conditions from July 2009 through May last year. The therapy increased the therapeutic effect maintenance duration from four months to seven months.

The therapeutic effect maintenance duration refers to a period in which existing cancer cells no longer grow or no new cancer cells are created. An increase in the duration means a longer survival period.

If a treatment extends the survival of terminal cancer patients by three months, it is approved as a new drug. Certain patients can live more than a year after receiving the therapy, according to the research team.

Park said, “This study has showed for the first time the prospects of extending the lives of liver cancer patients by combining embolization and the targeted therapy,” adding, “We will verify the effects of the treatment through the phase-III clinical trial of a control group.”

The study was published in the online version of the magazine of the European Association for the Study of the Liver for February.