The researchers determined whether functional foods (foods that have a positive effect on health) can improve the prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients following surgical treatment.
They published their results in the July issue of the Journal of Hepatology.
The functional food looked at was the newly developed active hexose correlated compound (AHCC).
In vitro experiments have shown that AHCC enhances natural killer cell activity, and may be considered a potent biological response modifier in the treatment of cancer patients.
|Effect of AHCC:|
- Longer time to recurrence
- Increased overall survival
| Journal of Hepatology |
However, the effects of AHCC in a clinical setting have not been reported.
From 1992 to 2001, 269 consecutive patients with histologically confirmed HCC were studied.
All of the patients underwent resection of a liver tumor.
Time to treatment failure (disease recurrence or death) and 10 parameters related to liver function after surgery were examined.
Of the 269 patients, 113 received AHCC orally after undergoing curative surgery (AHCC group).
The authors found that the AHCC group had a significantly longer no recurrence period (hazard ratio (HR), 0.639). They also had an increased overall survival rate (HR, 0.421), when compared to the control group.
Yoichi Matsui, of the Kansai Medical University, Moriguchi, Osaka, concluded on behalf of the team, "This study suggests that AHCC intake can improve the prognosis of postoperative HCC patients."