Primary liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide and the third most common cause of death from cancer, resulting in more than 600,000 deaths per year. The major risk factors for this primary liver cancer are chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus infection, alcoholic cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and non-alcoholic stratohepatitis.
There are no specific symptoms of liver cancer, and in fact, the earliest signs are usually subtle and can be mistaken for simple worsening of cirrhosis and liver function. Abdominal pain is uncommon with liver cancer and usually signifies a very large tumor or widespread involvement of the liver. Additionally, unexplained weight loss or unexplained fevers are warning signs of liver cancer in patients with cirrhosis.
Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are liver cancer treatment main options. Surgery is likely to be the most successful treatment, particularly for patients with small tumors (smaller than 5 cm).
Two types of surgery are used to treat primary liver cancer : hepatectomy or a liver transplantation. However, if the tumor has spread outside the liver, or if the patient has other serious illnesses, surgery may not be effective.
Early-stage liver cancer is amenable to potentially curative therapies; however, only about 30% of patients who present at most centers have early-stage disease. Most of the patients with liver cancer usually come at an intermediate or advanced stage, which make it particularly difficult to treat, for several reasons.
Liver cancer is resistant to many chemotherapies and to cell-death inducing agents. In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved sorafenib for the treatment of patients with advanced liver cancer. Unfortunately not all patients respond to sorafenib and the drug itself does not cure the disease and quite costly.
Therefore, Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Genetics, and Pharmacology, and co-Program Leader of Radiation Biology in the Abramson Cancer Center, and colleagues have tested other targeted agents in combination with sorafenib.
They found that treating liver cancer cells with sorafenib and an antibody or the natural ligand that stimulates programmed cell death via the TRAIL pathway, dramatically increases the rate of cell death.
"Sorafenib by itself causes a little cell death, but not that much," Dr. El-Deiry said. "Now you combine sorafenib and TRAIL, and all of the sudden you get massive cell death. It is a real synergistic interaction. It is very profound killing."
The pharmacy price of sorafenib is approximately $5,400 per month in the United States. Indian firm Cipla Ltd is planning to sell the generic version of sorafenib (Nexavar), name ‘Soranib’, at one tenth of Bayer’s selling price in India pending court case.
Liver Cancer – Alternative Treatment
Liver Cancer Stage IV - info update October 2010
Mother of Ms.MR (initial), 82 - Indonesia (Surabaya)
In May 2008, Ms MR’s mother was diagnosed with primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) - advance stage with tumor size of 11cm x 11cm. AFP tumor marker lab test was 22.865 µg/L (normal range is below 10 µg/L) and CA 19-9 tumor marker showed: 79.51 U/ml (normal < 37 U/ml). Due to her old age and condition of the tumor (>5 cm), doctor didn’t recommend chemotherapy. So her children decided that she took alternative therapy instead. Starting from July 2009, she takes Typhonium Plus® (TP) 2x2 capsules daily. She also maintains a healthy diet, drink gobo soup every day and has some accupuncture sessions. It’s true that during this treatment, the tumor didn’t shrink but somewhat dormant. In August 2010, after a general check up, doctor said that her liver condition is ok. Her SGOT level already drop to 40 (before above 100). She still consumes TP up to now. TP helps to maintain her stamina and appetite. She can sleep well and experience no more upper abdominal pain.
Keywords: cancer, cancer treatment, liver cancer treatment, liver cancer