COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Therapeutic efficacy of multimodal combination therapy using transcatheter arterial infusion of epirubicin and cisplatin, systemic infusion of 5-fluorouracil, and additional percutaneous ethanol injection for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma

Jeong Won Jang, Young Min Park, Si Hyun Bae, Jong Young Choi, Seung Kew Yoon, U Im Chang, Soon Woo Nam, Boo Sung Kim
Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology 2004, 54 (5): 415-20
15235823

PURPOSE: Previous studies have shown that a treatment regimen using epirubicin, cisplatin, and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) (ECF) has a survival benefit for gastric cancer patients. Based on these results and the hypothesis that a combination modality has a better therapeutic advantage over a single mode of therapy, the efficacy of multimodal combination therapy using a transarterial infusion of epirubicin and cisplatin, systemic infusion of 5-FU, and additional percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was investigated in this study in comparison with conventional transarterial chemoembolization (TACE).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: From July 1997 to September 1998, a total of 52 patients with unresectable HCC who underwent at least two cycles of transarterial chemotherapy were enrolled in this study. Among the 52 patients, 30 (ECF group) received a multimodal combination therapy comprising transarterial infusion of epirubicin (50 mg/m2) and cisplatin(60 mg/m2), systemic infusion of 5-FU (200 mg/m2), and additional PEI every 4 weeks, and the remaining 22(ADR group) received conventional TACE using Adriamycin (ADR, 50 mg) and Gelfoam every 8 weeks.

RESULTS: During the follow-up period (mean 13.8 +/ -8.5 months), the objective tumor response of the ECF group was significantly higher than that of the ADR group (53.3 vs 22.7%, P=0.044). The median survival time was 13.5 months for the ECF group and 10.5 months for the ADR group (P=0.026). The cumulative survival rates at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months,respectively, were 90, 57, 27, and 17% for the ECF group and 73, 37, 7, and 0% for the ADR group. Uni-variate analysis showed five prognostic factors including tumor number, tumor morphology, portal vein thrombosis, Child-Pugh classification, and tumor response. With multivariate analysis, portal vein thrombosis and tumor response were identified as the two independent f actors for survival. No serious adverse effect was observed in the ECF group, while there was a higher tendency for hepatic complications in the ADR group.

CONCLUSIONS: Combination therapy comprising transarterial infusion of epirubicin and cisplatin, systemic infusion of 5-FU, and additional PEI appears to be feasible and promising as a multimodal approach for unresectable HCC. Furthermore, it may provide a survival benefit for patients with more advanced disease.

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