Postoperative Adjuvant Therapy With Recombinant Interferon-Alpha Following Curative Resection of HCC
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We conducted a randomized controlled trial of adjuvant interferon therapy in patients with predominantly hepatitis B-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to investigate whether the prognosis after hepatic resection could be improved. Since February 1999, patients with no residual disease after hepatic resection for HCC were randomly assigned with stratification by pTNM stage to receive no treatment (control group), interferon alpha-2b 10 MIU/m2 (IFN-I group) or 30 MIU/m2 (IFN-II group) thrice weekly for 16 weeks. Enrollment to the IFN-II group was terminated from January 2000 because adverse effects resulted in treatment discontinuation in the first 6 patients. By June 2002, 40 patients each had been enrolled into the control group and IFN-I group. The baseline clinical, laboratory and tumor characteristics of both groups were comparable. The 1- and 5-year survival rates were 85% and 61%, respectively for the control group and 97% and 79%, respectively for the IFN-I group (P=0.137). After adjusting for the confounding prognostic factors in a Cox model, the relative risk of death for interferon treatment was 0.42 (95% CI 0.17 - 1.05; P=0.063). Exploratory subset analysis showed that adjuvant interferon had no survival benefit for pTNM stage I/II tumor (5-year survival 90% in both groups; P=0.917) but prevented early recurrence and improved the 5-year survival of patients with stage III/IVA tumor from 24% to 68% (P=0.038). In conclusion, in a group of patients with predominantly hepatitis B-related HCC, adjuvant interferon therapy prevented early recurrence and improved survival in those with pTNM stage III/IVA tumors.
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Ages Eligible for Study:
18 Years to 75 Years (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:
All patients who undergo a curvative hepatic resection for HCC at the Department of Surgery, Queen Mary Hospital are included. The criteria for curative resection include all of the following :
i) Complete extirpation of disease as demonstrated by intraoperative ultrasonography during surgery ii) Histologic evidence of a clear resection margin iii) No evidence of residual disease in the liver remnant as demonstrated by spiral contrast-enhanced CT scan one month after surgery
i) patient refusal ii) age > 75 years old iii) hospital mortality iv) disease previously treated by regional or systemic chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or immunotherapy v) poor hepatic function:
presence of hepatic encephalopathy
presence of ascites not controlled by diuretics
history of variceal bleeding within last 3 months
total serum bilirubin > 50 umol/L
serum albumin < 30 g/L
prothrombin time prolonged for > 4 seconds vi) poor renal function with serum creatinine > 180mol/L vii) Absolute neutrophil count < 1.5 x 109/L viii) Platelet count < 75 x 109/L ix) poor performance status with European Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) scale grade III or IV