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Clin Drug Investig. 2012 Aug 8;32 Suppl 2:15-23. doi: 10.2165/1163022-S0-000000000-00000.

Current status of hepatocellular carcinoma treatment in Japan: hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Kanazawa University Hospital, 13-1 Takara-Machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan.


Hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy (HAIC) allows the long-term administration of cytotoxic drugs to the liver. In Japan, HAIC has traditionally been used to treat patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with vascular invasion or multiple intrahepatic lesions, or both. The most common chemotherapy drugs used for HAIC in Japan are 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin. Although HAIC is associated with a high rate of response in some studies, it is not associated with a survival benefit. Furthermore, HAIC is associated with complications that are not observed with systemic chemotherapy, including peptic ulcer, arterial occlusion and port infection. A molecular targeted agent, sorafenib, recently became the standard therapy for advanced HCC on the basis of data from two randomized controlled trials. For this reason, the position of HAIC in the treatment of advanced HCC in Japan is under discussion. Clinical trials must be undertaken to establish standardized protocols and regimens for HAIC, and to determine the efficacy of HAIC in comparison with other therapies for HCC. Without evidence from such trials, HAIC may not find an established role in the treatment of HCC, and may even fall out of use. Recent evidence suggests that HAIC may be useful in combination with molecular targeted therapy; this is currently being investigated in a number of clinical trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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