Combination treatment can combat hepatocellular carcinoma

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Combination treatment can combat hepatocellular carcinoma

Postby whbio » Mar 01 2017 12:46 pm

Experiments in a novel mouse model shows that a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy can greatly slow the growth of the tumor, researchers headed by Kevin Staveley-O’Carroll report in the Journal of Hepatology.

The study, carried out by researchers from Medical University of South Carolina, University of Virginia, and Pennsylvania State University, illustrates that “Chemoimmunotherapy using Food and Drug Administration-approved sunitinib with anti-PD-1 antibodies achieved significant tumor control, supporting translation of this approach for the treatment of HCC patients.”

Hepatocellular carcinoma, also referred to as HCC and malignant hepatoma, is the most frequent form of liver cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, especially in Asia and Africa. It occurs predominantly in individuals with underlying chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, such as people infected with HBV and HCV. A lot of HCC cases are diagnosed in late stage disease, making the treatment impossible.

Existing drugs can only prolong patients’ survival by three months. The treatment strategy developed in the new study, if confirmed, would not only extend their life but also improve life quality.

Staveley-O’Carroll’s team created a novel mouse model of HCC to study the interaction between host immunity and tumors during disease initiation and progression. Mice were treated with either the chemotherapy sunitinib or the immunotherapy anti-PD-1 antibody or both. Several weeks later, tumors in all the three groups grew larger, and the chemotherapy group had much larger tumors than the immunotherapy group. Notably, mice receiving both therapies had the smallest tumors. All together, the findings suggested that combing chemotherapy and immunotherapy is a more effective way to slow tumor growth.

HCC is usually diagnosed in people age 50 or older. The risk factors of this disease include alcohol abuse, autoimmune diseases of the liver, chronic inflammation of the liver, HBV and HCV infections, and hemochromatosis. In countries like China where HBV and HCV prevalence and incidence are high, there are more cases of HCC. Infection with HBV or HCV accounts for 80% of HCC.

By the way, CusAb is a supplier of antibodies including anti-PD-1 antibody. Website:
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