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Am J Clin Oncol. 1995 Aug;18(4):287-92.

Hepatocellular carcinoma. An ECOG randomized phase II study of beta-interferon and menogaril.

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Department of Medical Oncology, University of Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.


This study was undertaken to investigate the response rate, time to treatment failure and survival time of patients with hepatocellular cancer (HCC) treated with beta-interferon or menogaril. Sixty-nine patients with histologically confirmed, advanced, measurable hepatocellular carcinoma were randomized to receive beta-interferon or menogaril. Eligibility criteria included an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0, 1, 2, or 3, as well as adequate kidney and liver function and hematologic reserve. The number of patients with lethal, life-threatening, and severe toxicities on beta-interferon were 1, 3, and 12 and on menogaril 2, 5, and 10, respectively. No objective responses were documented among the 61 patients who had HCC, histologically reviewed and confirmed. The time to treatment failure was 6.7 weeks on beta-interferon and 8.6 weeks on menogaril. The median survival time was 11.1 weeks on beta-interferon and 23.1 weeks on menogaril (South African patients 10.1 weeks). The difference is not significant. Poor prognostic factors were jaundice, age, and associated hepatitis. After controlling for other covariates, beta-interferon appears to increase the relative risk of dying by 2.7. This trial reconfirms the importance, previously reported by ECOG of jaundice and age in the prognosis of patients with HCC. It shows that further trials with neither beta-interferon nor menogaril are warranted.

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