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Am J Gastroenterol. 1995 Sep;90(9):1500-3.

Spontaneous regression of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Medicine II, Klinikum Grosshadern, University of Munich, Germany.


Spontaneous regression of cancer is a rare phenomenon seldom described in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. A case of spontaneous regression of hepatocellular carcinoma is reported and compared with the reports published in the English literature. A 52-yr-old man presented with biopsy-proven hepatocellular carcinoma, which was considered to be unresectable at initial laparotomy. The tumor subsequently regressed without specific treatment, as assessed radiologically and by normalization of a previously elevated alpha-fetoprotein level. At repeat laparotomy 14 months after initial diagnosis, intraoperative ultrasound failed to disclose a hepatic mass, and multiple biopsies showed no evidence of malignancy. To date, only nine case reports of apparently spontaneous regression of hepatocellular carcinoma have been published in the English literature. Clinical characteristics discriminating these patients from less fortunate patients with hepatocellular carcinoma could not be identified. The mechanisms underlying this intriguing phenomenon remain unknown.

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