Systemic, high-dose interferon-treatment, given 3 times per week subcutaneously, causes tumor regression in about 30% of patients with inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
In this study, researchers from Hong Kong, China, determined the efficacy and safety of transcatheter arterial interferon embolization for the treatment of patients with inoperable HCC.
|38% of patients had normalization of their alpha-fetoprotein level.|
The research team recruited 18 patients with inoperable HCC to receive 3 different doses of interferon-alpha-2b at intervals of 8 to 12 weeks. Doses administered were 10 megaunits (MU)/m2, 30 MU/m2, or 50 MU/m2.
The patients’ tumor response, adverse events, and survival were monitored.
The team found that in 14 patients with nondiffuse HCC complete responses were observed in 29% of patients, and partial responses in 36%. Overall, 1 of 4 patients with diffuse HCC had a partial response.
In addition, 38% of patients had normalization of their alpha-fetoprotein level.
The team also found that the median ferritin level at the last follow-up was reduced significantly (765 pmol/l), compared with the baseline level (1980 pmol/l).
The researchers found that median survival was 15.9 months.
They determined that transient fever and rigor were the most common side effects of this treatment. In addition, 28% of patients developed hypothyroidism. However, no significant liver decompensation was observed.
Dr Man-Fung Yuen’s team concluded, “This pilot study showed that transcatheter arterial interferon embolization was an effective method for the treatment of patients with inoperable HCC without significant hepatic toxicity”.