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Combined Therapy Promising in Unresectable Liver Cancer

Chemoembolization plus radiofrequency ablation prolonged survival

TUESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with large unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma tumors, treatment with transarterial chemoembolization followed by radiofrequency ablation leads to improved survival compared to treatment with either of the two modalities alone, according to research published in the April 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Bao-Quan Cheng, M.D., Ph.D., of Qilu Hospital School of Medicine in Jinan, China, and colleagues compared the survival rates of 291 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma larger than 3 cm randomized to be treated with transarterial chemoembolization alone, radiofrequency ablation alone, or combined therapy with chemoembolization and radiofrequency ablation.

Median survival times were 24 months in the chemoembolization group, 22 months in the radiofrequency ablation group and 37 months in the combined therapy group, the report indicates. Overall survival in patients treated with chemoembolization plus radiofrequency ablation was superior to those treated with chemoembolization alone or radiofrequency ablation alone. In addition, the rate of objective response sustained for at least six months was highest in the combined group (54 percent) compared to chemoembolization alone (35 percent) or radiofrequency ablation alone (36 percent).

"The present study shows that performing transarterial chemoembolization prior to radiofrequency ablation is beneficial in that it achieves better ablation than either transarterial chemoembolization alone or radiofrequency ablation alone in selected candidates with hepatocellular carcinoma greater than 3 cm," the authors write.

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