Anti-Inflammatory Prevents Liver Cancer After Cirrhosis

Colchicine also delays the development of liver cancer and improves survival

MONDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The anti-inflammatory agent colchicine prevents and delays the development of liver cancer and improves survival in patients with hepatitis virus-related liver cirrhosis, according to a study published online Sept. 11 in the journal Cancer.

Oscar Arrieta, M.D., from the Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia in Tlalpan, Mexico, and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 186 patients with hepatitis virus-related liver cirrhosis treated between 1980 and 2000, of whom 116 had received colchicine. The team examined the effect of colchicine on the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.

After a median follow-up of 84 months, the researchers found that significantly fewer patients treated with colchicine developed liver cancer (9 percent versus 29 percent). Colchicine also significantly delayed the development of liver cancer from a mean of 150 months to a mean of 222 months, and significantly improved survival from a mean of 218 months to a mean of 252 months. Cancer developed earlier in patients not treated with colchicine and in those with high alpha-fetoprotein levels, low platelet counts, or high alanine aminotransferase.

"The results suggest that treatment with colchicine prevents and delays the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with hepatitis virus-related cirrhosis," Arrieta and colleagues conclude.

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