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Gout Drug May Help Prevent Liver Cancer

Anti-inflammatory colchicine staves off cancer in cirrhosis patients, study finds

MONDAY, Sept. 11, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- The anti-inflammatory drug colchicine, often used to treat gout and psoriasis, appeared to prevent liver cancer in patients with hepatitis virus-related end-stage liver disease, Mexican researchers report.

The study, published in the Oct. 15 issue of Cancer, included 186 patients with cirrhosis of the liver due to viral disease. Of those, 116 were treated with colchicine and the others received no treatment.

After three years, nine percent of patients treated with the drug developed liver cancer, compared to 29 percent of untreated patients, say researchers at the Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia, Mexico City.

Among patients who did develop liver cancer, those who were treated with colchicine developed the cancer later than untreated patients. Treatment with colchicine delayed the diagnosis of liver cancer after cirrhosis onset by 72 months (222 months compared to 150 months), the study found.

It also found that colchicine-treated patients with liver cancer survived longer than untreated patients.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about cirrhosis of the liver.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons Inc., news release, Sept. 11, 2006
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