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12363Interferon Improves Survival for Hep C Patients with Liver Cancer

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  • Tatezi
    Mar 9, 2003
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      Interferon Improves Survival for Hepatitis C Patients with
      Liver Cancer

      The addition of interferon to repeated alcohol injections appears
      to improve survival time for hepatitis C patients who have liver
      cancer and lessen recurrences, according to a study reported in
      the Feb. 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

      Interferon has previously been shown to reduce hepatitis C patients'
      risk of developing liver cancer. For those who already have liver
      cancer, a common treatment involves injecting alcohol into
      cancerous nodules. Although the alcohol kills the tumor cells,
      the cancer tends to come back.

      In this study, University of Tokyo researchers sought to determine
      whether treatment with interferon along with the alcohol injections
      would be a better treatment option for liver cancer in such

      The researchers studied 49 patients who were mildly infected with
      the hepatitis C virus and who had three or fewer live cancer
      nodules that had already been treated once with alcohol injections.

      Two thirds of the patients received treatment with interferon as well
      as alcohol injections, while one third received alcohol injections
      without interferon.

      The researchers evaluated both groups to determine the timing of
      cancer recurrence and to see if survival rates differed between
      the groups. They also evaluated evidence for continued hepatitis C
      virus infection with and without interferon treatment.

      Although the time to the first recurrence of liver cancer did not
      differ in the two groups, second and third recurrences were less
      frequent in the patients receiving interferon. Five years after
      initial treatment, 68 percent of the interferon-treated patients
      were alive compared with 48 percent of the untreated patients.
      At seven years, 53 percent of the interferon-treated group was
      alive compared with 23 percent of the untreated patients.
      Continuing hepatitis C virus infection was greatly reduced in
      patients who received interferon, but the virus persisted in all
      patients who did not receive interferon.

      SOURCE:Annals of Internal Medicine, Volume 138 Number 4, 299-306
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