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Combined stenting and photodynamic therapy improves survival in late stage liver cancer patients
Date:3/11/2008

Bethesda, MD (March 11, 2008) A combined therapeutic approach of stenting and photodynamic therapy may improve survival rates for patients suffering from advanced liver bile duct cancer, according to a study published this month in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

Researchers in the study found that while stenting can help reinforce the bile duct to increase liver functionality, the light therapy assisted in attacking the cancer cells directly. The combined therapy led to significant reductions in mortality rates in the year following treatment, compared with stenting treatment alone.

This is a very aggressive disease that were fighting, as most patients are diagnosed when we can only offer palliative care, said Michel Kahaleh, MD, of the University of Virginia and lead investigator of the study. What we found in this study is that combining therapies that fight the disease and help improve liver functionality can help extend the survival rates for these patients.

In this study, 48 patients were treated for advanced cholangiocarcinoma over a five year period. Nineteen were treated with photodynamic therapy (PDT) and stents, while 29 patients were treated with biliary stents alone. In the group receiving combined therapy, the photodynamic agent (porfimer sodium, a commonly used agent) was injected and activated, and plastic stents were inserted. PDT was repeated every three months, at which time all stents were replaced. If the team found blockages or shifting, stents were exchanged earlier to maintain optimal decompression.

The group treated with stenting and PDT showed improved survival rates compared to the stent-only group (16.2 months vs. 7.4 months). Mortality in the PDT group at three, six and 12 months was 0, 16 and 56 percent respectively, while the corresponding mortality in the stent group was 28, 52 and 82 p
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Contact: Aimee Frank
media@gastro.org
301-941-2620
American Gastroenterological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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