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Chin Med J (Engl). 1991 Oct;104(10):846-50.

Hepatic artery ligation and infusion chemotherapy for unresectable primary liver cancer.

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Liver Cancer Institute, Shanghai Medical University.


During the period of 1958-1989, 356 patients with pathologically proven primary liver cancer (PLC) were determined by laparotomy to be unresectable. Of the 356 patients, 51 (14.3%) were of subclinical stage, 287 (80.6%) of moderate stage and 18 (5.1%) of late stage. The association of liver cirrhosis was present in 310 patients (87.1%). Treatment modalities in 356 patients were divided into 4 groups: hepatic artery ligation (HAL) (51), hepatic artery infusion (HAI) of chemotherapeutic agents (114), HAL + HAI (117), and HAL + HAI + radiotherapy (74). The 5-year survival rate was zero in the 4 groups in the period of 1958-1977. During 1978-1989, however, the 5-year survival rate was zero in HAL, 7.9% in HAI, 24.4% in HAL + HAI (with second look resection in 10 patients), and 36.5% in HAL + HAI + radiotherapy (with second look resection in 19). The marked improvement in survival in later period was attributable to the accurate site of hepatic artery catheter, longer infusion chemotherapy, and combination treatment, particularly second look resection in some of the patients. These results indicate that HAL + HAI + combination treatment might provide a possible prolongation of survival or even resection in some patients with original unresectable PLC.

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