MAY 13, 2019 6:15 AM PDT

Children with liver cancer may not need as much chemo

Results from a phase 3 clinical trial show that children with liver cancer may not need as much chemotherapy as has been traditionally administered. The most common type of childhood liver cancer, hepatoblastoma, typically involves surgery on patients to remove the malignant tumors and is treated afterward with chemotherapy. While a high percentage of children who receive this dual-treatment survive (90%), some survivors experience adverse lasting affects from the chemo drug cisplatin.

Now research led by National Cancer Institute-supported Children’s Oncology Group has found that children administered a lower dose of the drug during chemotherapy have survived as long as those children given the full dose, with the added benefit of fewer adverse side effects.

“We found that four cycles of chemotherapy—the standard amount—were not needed and that two cycles seemed to be enough,” said Howard Katzenstein, M.D., of Nemours Children’s Specialty Care and Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, FL, one of the investigators.

This change is treatment comes from a paradigm shift as scientists are beginning to value patient quality of life more during chemotherapy. “In a group of patients with a 90% cure rate, we need to ensure that these children have the best possible quality of life,” said Dr. Katzenstein. That means optimizing the amount of chemotherapy administered so that children have shorter hospital stays and fewer side effects such as hearing loss, nausea, vomiting, risk of infection, and kidney damage.

According to NCI, the 49 patients who participated in the trial received two cycles of a combination of three chemotherapy drugs (cisplatin, fluorouracil, and vincristine) instead of the typical four cycles. They found that after 42 months, over 90% of patients did not have a recurrence of the disease; these results are comparable with the standard four cycles of chemotherapy that are usually administered. After 4 years, 95% of the patients were alive and the 5-year overall survival rate was 91%.

Over 90% of children treated for liver cancer survive. Photo: Pixabay

Nita Seibel, M.D., head of Pediatric Solid Tumor Therapeutics in NCI’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, was not involved in the study but commented that, “The results of this trial will inform decisions about how the disease is treated in the future.”

Sources: NCIThe Lancet

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUN 28, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Insight Into How Dietary Changes Could Affect Cancer Therapies
JUN 28, 2020
Insight Into How Dietary Changes Could Affect Cancer Therapies
Researchers are investigating the complex relationship between cancer, diet, and metabolism in cells, and are attempting ...
JUL 07, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Anticancer Compound Found in Marine Bacteria
JUL 07, 2020
Anticancer Compound Found in Marine Bacteria
Bacteria live in symbiosis with many animals in the world. These tiny single-celled creatures often play crucial roles i ...
JUL 09, 2020
Cancer
Fatty acid DGLA kills cancer cells
JUL 09, 2020
Fatty acid DGLA kills cancer cells
A study published in Developmental Cell highlights the discovery that a fatty acid called dihomogamma-linolenic acid (DG ...
JUL 12, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Lung Cancer is Different in Non-Smokers
JUL 12, 2020
Lung Cancer is Different in Non-Smokers
Not everyone that gets lung cancer is a current or former smoker, and researchers have now found that lung cancer is dif ...
JUL 16, 2020
Immunology
Cancer Vaccine Charges Toward the Clinic
JUL 16, 2020
Cancer Vaccine Charges Toward the Clinic
Kristen Radford, a professor at Australia’s University of Queensland is among a scientific research team developin ...
JUL 27, 2020
Cancer
Identifying Tumor Cells in the Blood with Artificial Intelligence
JUL 27, 2020
Identifying Tumor Cells in the Blood with Artificial Intelligence
Cancer diagnostics is an area of keen interest in the fight against cancer. Cancer often slips by routine checkups and v ...
Loading Comments...