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Gastroenterology. 1995 Sep;109(3):917-22.

Treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma with tamoxifen: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial in 120 patients.

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Liver Unit, Hospital Clínic i Provincial, University of Barcelona, Spain.



The progression of hepatocellular carcinoma may be influenced by estrogens. This has offered the rationale for evaluating the therapeutic usefulness of estrogen-receptor blockers; it is being debated whether long-term tamoxifen administration improves survival in patients with this neoplasm. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of tamoxifen administration in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.


One hundred twenty patients with this neoplasm who were not suitable for surgery, ethanol injection, or transarterial embolization were included in a placebo-controlled trial and randomized to tamoxifen, 20 mg/day per os, (group A, n = 58) or placebo (group B, n = 62). Patients with terminal diseases were excluded.


Both groups were similar with regard to sex, age, liver function (Child-Pugh's score, 6.5 +/- 1.4 vs. 6.4 +/- 1.4), baseline performance status, and tumor stage. Tamoxifen had no antitumoral effect with no differences in the survival between groups (1- and 2-year actuarial rate: group A, 51% and 27%; and group B, 43% and 29%; P = 0.75), even when stratifying patients according to baseline status. Furthermore, there were no differences in the probability of disease progression (P = 0.46) and baseline performance status maintenance (P = 0.93) during follow-up.


Tamoxifen has no efficacy in the treatment of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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