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Cancer. 1984 Sep 15;54(6):970-7.

Primary liver cancer. An Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Trial.


One hundred ninety-two patients with unresectable primary liver cancer studied by members of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) were evaluable in a prospectively randomized clinical trial. Patient discriminants such as performance status were carefully evaluated to assess their influence on prognosis and to evaluate the importance of patient status on response and survival. Patients who were totally bedridden or with signs of overt liver failure were not entered on study. The median survival time for all evaluable previously untreated patients was 17 weeks (19 weeks for North American and European, and 10 weeks for South African black patients). Among the South African patients, however, there was a significantly larger proportion with an initially poor performance status. Prognostic variables (performance status, jaundice, and reduced appetite) dominate any differences among the treatments studied. Among North American and European patients on intravenous (IV) 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) + Methyl-CCNU (MeCCNU) + Adriamycin (ADM, doxorubicin), the 19% response rate is offset by 63% with severe toxicity and a median survival time of only 17 weeks, making this treatment unacceptable clinically. The median survival time of North American and European patients treated with IV 5-FU +/- MeCCNU was 28 weeks in contrast to a median survival time of 12 weeks with ADM (P less than or equal to 0.01). EST 2273 was the ECOG study of patients with primary liver cancer. The results of the first part of the trial were published in 1978. This report updates those findings and reports the results of patients entered subsequently on the second part of that study after it was amended in 1979. With more than 300 evaluable patients in EST 2273, this duet of studies is the largest ever conducted in patients with primary liver cancer, and draws a new baseline from which to measure the disease and its response to treatment.

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