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New therapies increase survival rates in post-transplant liver cancer patients
Date:3/25/2010

A recent study found that sirolimus-based immunosuppression following liver transplantation in patients with non-resectable hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) significantly increases survival rates for this patient population. Results of this study appear in the April issue of Hepatology, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

According to the NIH, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common type of liver cancer, and one of the few cancers in the U.S. in which the number of new cases is expected to rise over the next two decades. Liver transplantation is an important treatment option for selected patients with non-resectable HCC, but the ideal immunosuppression protocol is still a matter of debate. To date, no single protocol has gained widespread acceptance.

Researchers at the University of Alberta led by Dr. Christian Toso set out to define the immunosuppressant regimen associated with the best survival after liver transplantation for HCC. This study was not designed to look at the effect of specific drugs, but at protocols containing specific drugs. Based on data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, the researchers evaluated 2491 adult recipients of isolated liver transplantation for HCC and 12167 for non-HCC diagnoses between March 2002 and March 2009. All patients remained on stable maintenance immunosuppression protocols for at least six months post-transplant. The unique outcome variable of the study was patient survival; all deaths were taken into account in the analysis whether they were associated with HCC or not.

In a multivariate analysis, only anti-CD25 antibody induction and sirolimus-based maintenance therapy were associated with improved survivals after transplantation for HCC. The other studied drugs, including calcineurin-inhibitors, did not demonstrate a significant impact. To determine whether the observed
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Contact: Dawn Peters
medicalnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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