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Sorafenib May Improve Portal Hypertension

Significant treatment benefits seen in rats with models of portal hypertension and cirrhosis

THURSDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with advanced portal hypertension may benefit from sorafenib, researchers report in the April issue of Hepatology.

Marc Mejias, of Hospital Clinic, Ciberehd in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues studied the effects of sorafenib in two animal models: rats with pre-hepatic portal hypertension induced by partial portal vein ligation; and rats with intrahepatic portal hypertension and secondary biliary cirrhosis induced by bile duct ligation.

The researchers found that sorafenib was associated with an approximate 80 percent decrease in splanchnic neovascularization, an 18 percent decrease in portosystemic collateral vessels, and a 25 percent reduction in portal pressure. They also observed significant improvements in liver damage and intrahepatic fibrosis, inflammation and angiogenesis.

"As a whole, it is obvious that a new avenue for pharmacologic intervention in patients with cirrhosis has emerged," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "The increasing knowledge of molecular biology has allowed the identification of new therapeutic targets to modulate cell biology, and this will affect the management of both malignant and non-malignant diseases. In the specific case of cirrhosis and liver cancer, it may be that the same agent or family of agents will be used for the prevention of fibrosis progression leading to cirrhosis, which at a point is the main risk factor for liver cancer development, and for the treatment of liver cancer itself, when this unfortunate development takes place."

An author of the editorial reports a financial relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, including Bayer.

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