Liver Cancer News

Blue Faery: The Adrienne Wilson Liver Cancer Association

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Scientists Develop New Material For Liver Cancer Treatment
31 October 2019
Chinese scientists of the Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed a material that can be used for liver cancer treatment. The material is a nanoparticle made of silicon dioxide and gold. As a treatment, it can be filled with telazamine, a drug that enhances anti-tumor effects, and injected intravenously. Given its size, it can reach hypoxic microenvironments which are prevalent in solid tumors, and not sensitive to radiation, allowing cancer cells to survive This new material the material provides an efficient and safe strategy for treating liver cancer, explained the team.

U.S. FDA Agreed With Can-Fite’s Proposed Pivotal Phase III Trial Design To Support A New Drug Application Submission And Approval Of Namodenoson In The Treatment Of Liver Cancer
31 October 2019
Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd., a biotechnology company, has concluded an End-of-Phase II Meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The meeting was regarding its recently completed Phase II study of Namodenoson for the treatment of hepatocellular cancer (HCC). Namodenoson is a small oral drug that binds to the A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR), which is highly expressed in diseased cells. The purpose of the meeting was to review the Phase II study data and propose a Phase III study. The Phase II study found that Namodenoson increased overall survival in HCC patients. The Phase III study will enroll patients with advanced HCC.

New Research Suggests Proton Radiation Can Benefit Patients With Challenging Liver Tumors
30 October 2019
The publication of two new studies finds that the use of proton radiation therapy to treat patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) may be beneficial. One study, by Nina Sanford, MD, and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital, suggests that proton radiation, compared to traditional photon radiation, can extend overall survival (OS) with reduced toxicity. Stanford's study showed a median OS to be 31 months using proton radiation, vs. 14 months using photon radiation. The other study by Cheng-En Hsieh, MD, and colleagues identifies predictors for reducing liver damage that can result from radiation treatments. While proton therapy may offer advantages, it is expensive and not easily available to most patients.

Integrating Palliative Care Into Hepatocellular Carcinoma Treatment
29 October 2019
Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) affects 30,000 adults in the United States each year and is more prevalent in men than women. The 5-year survival rate in patients with HCC is less than 12% in the US. Doctors believe that in addition to hepatologists and other specialists in the management of patients with HCC, early and consistent palliative support could enhance care throughout the disease course. Palliative support consists of relieving pain associated with the disease or the side effects of treatment. “Palliative care clinicians are uniquely suited to help patients navigate the process of treatment decisions while considering how to best define and maintain quality of life while living with a serious illness like HCC,” explained the researchers.

Scientists Discover The Implication Of A New Protein Involved In Liver Cancer
29 October 2019
Researchers at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) discovered how the cell membrane protein is involved in the development and progression of liver cancer. This protein, called clathrin, has a key role in the process of internalization of molecules from the extracellular space into the cell, called endocytosis. Analyzing the levels of clathrin expression in biopsies of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) patients will help select patients who will benefit from a much more targeted and personalized therapy. The research team, led by Dr. Isabel Fabregat, professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Barcelona and a researcher at the CIBER of Hepatic and Digestive Diseases, has shown that liver cells with invasive features have high levels of clathrin.

New Diagnostic Method To Determine Liver Cancer Consistency
28 October 2019
Researchers from Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin developed a new diagnostic technique of grading tumor consistency using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The researchers used an imaging technique known as tomoelastography to visualize the liver tumors. A research team, led by Prof. Ingolf Sack of Charité's Department of Radiology on Campus Charité Mitte, used a technique known as tomoelastography and became the first researchers to show a link between the tissue's solid-fluid properties and the development of liver tumors. The study showed that hepatic malignancies contain tissues with both stiff and fluid properties. Also, people with increased liver stiffness are at a greater risk of developing malignant liver lesions.

Statins Reduce Risk Of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
28 October 2019
According to the results of a review and meta-analysis conducted by Cleveland Clinic investigators, statin use substantially reduces the risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). The review included 20 studies from Asia, Europe and the United States that represented more than 2.6 million patients. Gastroenterologist Carlos Romero-Marrero, MD, the study’s principal author, stated, “We found that patients who were taking statins were 43% less likely to develop HCC. Given this finding, statins should be considered as preventive therapy in patients at high risk of HCC.” Although the effects of various individual statins and their optimal dosages are not defined yet, the meta-analysis found that as the daily statin dose increased, the chances of HCC development decreased significantly.

Microbiome-Derived Therapy Gets Orphan Drug Status For Hepatocellular Carcinoma
28 October 2019
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug designation to SFA001 (SFA Therapeutics) for the treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). In animal models, SFA001 has shown to significantly reduced the number of HCC tumors as well as the size of the tumors. SFA001 is a microbiome-derived drug that is developed from natural substances. “By granting an Orphan Drug designation to SFA001, FDA has given a special status to treatment of the most prevalent form of liver cancer,” stated Ira Spector, PhD, SFA Therapeutics’ CEO. “These advantages undoubtedly will speed the drug’s availability for a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of patients annually worldwide.”

Ideas In The Wild: How Andrea Wilson Woods Is Honoring Her Sister’s Memory And Inspiring Others To Fight Cancer
26 October 2019
Andrea Wilson Woods, author of Better Off Bald: A Life in 147 Days, chronicles her sister’s remarkable life, from the time she was born to the day she died at age fifteen. The books is written as a journal to take the reader inside her and Adrienne’s journey. Woods explains that she decided to write this book to spread awareness of liver cancer and share Adrienne’s story. Liver cancer is one of the deadliest cancers worldwide. In the book, Woods also embraces the lessons Adrienne taught her, “If we embrace change, miraculous things happen. That’s the single biggest lesson that I learned from my sister.”

Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Predicts Nodule Transformation To Hepatocellular Carcinoma
24 October 2019
Lead investigator Manxia Lin of China's Sun Yat-Sen University retrospectively studied 39 consecutive patients with 44 pathologically confirmed cirrhotic nodules. These patients initially underwent contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) examination at detection, followed by conventional ultrasound every 3-4 months thereafter. The team identified sonographic biomarkers that can predict eventual malignant transformation of pathologically confirmed cirrhotic nodules for patients at risk for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). The team also found that the absence echo image change and threshold growth “significantly excluded malignant transformation.” Lin stated, “During surveillance a relative growth rate of 30% or greater in 6 months or an absolute growth rate of 5 mm or greater in 6 months highly indicated malignant transformation.”

Combination Therapy Shown To Increase Overall Survival And Progression-Free Survival For HCC
24 October 2019
Genentech's Phase III study showed that atezolizumab (Tecentriq, Genentech) in combination with bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech) increased overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). The IMbrave150 study includes 501 people with unresectable HCC who have not received prior systemic therapy. Atezolizumab is an antibody that binds with a protein expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells and may be able to re-activate T-cells. Bevacizumab is a biologic antibody that interferes with the tumor blood supply, which is believed to be vital for a tumor to metastasize. The combination treatment met both of its coprimary endpoints and demonstrated statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements compared with sorafenib.

Liver Pathobiology's Role In Hepatocellular Carcinoma
23 October 2019
Dr. Ghassan Abou-Alfa, and a panel of multidisciplinary experts in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) discuss different treatments. Michael A. Morse, MD, MHS, FACP explains that a major finding in immunotherapy is this observation that once immune cells, T-cells, get to the tumor, their function is shut down. This appears to be a function of a molecule called PD-L1, which is deployed by an immune cell to protect itself. PD-L1 interacts with PD-1 on activated T-cells and causes functional demise of those T-cells. Essentially, the PD-1 is preventing the T-cells from touching the cancer cells. CTLA-4 (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4) is then used to awake the T-cells again so that they start functioning again.

PHGDH Identified As A Potential Target To Overcome Sorafenib Resistance In HCC
23 October 2019
Researchers stated that a gene called phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH)may be a possible agent for overcoming sorafenib resistance for patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). The team found 984 genes that may potentially contribute to sorafenib resistance in HCC using the CRISPR/Cas9 knockout library screening. They also found that when nude mice were treated with sorafenib and CT-503, a PHGDH inhibitor, this “completely halted” tumor growth. Then, when this treatment was combined with other tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) inhibitors such as regorafenib or lenvatinib, this resulted in “profound” apoptotic effects, according to the study authors.

Level Of Hepatitis B Core-Related Antigen And Risk For Hepatocellular Carcinoma
21 October 2019
According to a recent cohort study, high level of hepatitis B core-related antigen (HBcrAg) is a complementary risk factor for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) development. Data was collected from 2666 adults positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HbsAg) and infected with HBV. Of those patients, 209 developed HCC. The researchers concluded that there was a positive association between baseline of HBcrAg and HCC development.

Challenges Remain In Hepatocellular Carcinoma Surveillance Of Patients With NASH
17 October 2019
“Overall, when you look at all patients with cirrhosis, less than 20% receive regular surveillance every 6 months, and it’s even lower for that subgroup with NASH cirrhosis,” said Amit Singal, MD, MS. Researchers have shown that Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) incidence in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)-related cirrhosis is high enough for surveillance to be cost-effective. Currently, ultrasound and blood test for the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) biomarker are the recommended tests for HCC. Unfortunately, ultrasound has a sensitivity rate of 47% for detecting HCC at the early stage. The curative treatment options for early-stage HCC include liver resection, local ablation, and transplantation.

‘Eisai's Lenvima Extends Survival Period, Improves Patients’ Quality of Life'
16 October 2019
According to recent research results, Lenvima, a Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) treatment, has been shown to improved response rate and overall survival, compared to Nexavar. Lenvima, developed by Eisai, has gained insurance benefits from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety as a first-line treatment for unresectable advanced HCC, based on the results of the phase 3 clinical trial REFLECT study. Professor Yoo Chang-hoon at Asan Medical Center explained that the objective response rate was more than doubled,24.1 % as compared to 9.2 % with Nexavar.

Radio Device Shows Promise As Liver Cancer Treatment, NC Study Finds
15 October 2019
Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Health are working to get FDA approval for a treatment device called Therabionic that kills tumor cells of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). The device uses amplitude-modulated (AM) radio waves and transmits them at a tumor-specific frequency through the patient, treating the body as an antenna. Dr. Boris Pasche, the study leader, explains that one benefit of the treatment is that it’s “systemic,” which means it goes through the entire body and can affect all cancer cells instead of just one area. Their research shows that the waves have shown no effect on other cells.

Treatment Of Liver Cancer
15 October 2019
Liver cancer falls into two categories, primary liver cancer, when the cancer originates in the liver, and secondary liver cancer which is the result of chronic liver injury such as chronic viral hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer. Surgery is the best treatment in the early stage of HCC. In the intermediate stage, yttrium-90, a radioactive nuclide coated on tiny spheres, is introduced as a treatment. Once the tumors are downsized, liver transplant can become a treatment option.

Liver Cancer Awareness Month: What You Need To Know
14 October 2019
October is liver cancer awareness month. Recent studies show that taking aspirin was found to improve liver function and extend survival among patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Researchers have also found a biomarker that may help to determine which patients with HCC will respond to treatment with Nexavar. Scientists are now focusing on the optimal sequence of treatments for patients. Andrea Wilson, president and founder of Blue Faery: The Adrienne Wilson Liver Cancer Association discusses new treatment options.

Potential Molecular Markers in Liver Cancer
11 October 2019
Anuradha S. Budhu, PhD, senior associate scientist, Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, explains how to use molecular features as predictive markers in liver cancer. Since genes are an important molecular feature, a team of investigators compare normally expressed genes with dysregulated or overexpressed genes to gain insight on cancer biology. Other markers include, microRNAs and downstream affecters of gene signaling such as metabolites and proteins. Markers may help identify liver cancer in patients, predict how aggressiveness the disease is, and determine which patients will benefit the most from treatment.

Frontline Opdivo May Improve Survival, Quality Of Life But Further Evaluation Is Needed
10 October 2019
Results from the CheckMate 459 study show that treatment with Opdivo (nivolumab) improved overall survival (OS) and response rates among patients with advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) as compared with Nexavar (sorafenib). Unfortunately, the study did not meet its primary endpoint for improved OS. Patients treated with Opdivo experienced a median overall survival of 16.4 months, compared with 14.7 months in those treated with Nexavar. However, the team found that patients treated with Opdivo experienced improved quality of life. Also, the overall response rate was 15% for those treated with Opdivo, and included 14 patients who experienced a complete response, compared with 7% of those treated with Nexavar, and included five patients with a complete response.

Researchers Try “One-Two Punch” Method To Treat Liver Cancer
9 October 2019
Researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University's School of Medicine and the Netherlands Cancer Institute have found a “one-two punch” method to treat liver cancer by inducing weakness in liver cancer cells and exploiting the vulnerability to reduce tumor growth. The team found that they can selectively induce senescence, the loss of a cell's power of division and growth, in liver cancer cells with mutations in the gene TP53. Treatment results showed a reduction of tumor growth in mouse models of liver cancer.

Scientists Find Link Between Liver Cancer And Plant Acids
9 October 2019
The team led by Shanghai’s Zhongshan Hospital and two Shanghai institutes under Chinese Academy of Sciences have discovered that one-third of liver cancer samples feature a mutation caused by aristolochic acids found in some herbal plants. The researchers found many hepatitis B patients in China have received traditional Chinese medicine treatment (TCM). Improper TCM use was connected with liver cancer. China has banned the use of herbs with high content of aristolochic acids.

Potential Liver Cancer Treatment By Targeting Cancer Stem-Like Cells
9 October 2019
A team led by Associate Professor Edward Chow, Principal Investigator with the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI) at NUS and Dr Toh Tan Boon, head of the Translational Core Laboratory at NUS have demonstrated a new method for treating advanced liver cancer. Scientists showed that a class of small molecule drugs that target the JAK/STAT signaling pathway, an important set of proteins that control a wide range of biological functions, could be used to fight against HCC. Their study targeted the JAK/STAT pathway to inhibit its action in tumor formation. JAK/STAT inhibitors targeting cancer stem-like cells were able to reduce cancer progression in pre-clinical models of liver cancer.

Addition OF Doxorubicin TO Sorafenib IN Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma
8 October 2019
The Phase III Alliance/CALGB 80802 trial has not shown any progression-free survival (PFS) or overall survival (OS) benefit with the addition of doxorubicin to sorafenib in patients with advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). The study involved 356 patients and was stopped early due to futility. Median OS was 9.3 months in the combination group who received doxorubicin plus sorafenib, as compared to 9.4 months in the sorafenib-only group, and median PFS was 4.0 months vs 3.7 months respectively.

Encouraging Early Data Of Atezolizumab/Bevacizumab Leads To Comparative Phase III Study
8 October 2019
The phase Ib study of the combination of atezolizumab (Tecentriq) and bevacizumab (Avastin) compared to Tecentriq alone, in patients with unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) has shown significant activity and tolerable toxicity. At the 12.4-month follow-up, the combination had an objective response rate of 36% and 12% of the patients showed a complete response to the treatment. Also, progression-free survival was 7.3 months. The combination reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 45% compared with Tecentriq alone. The team concluded that the combination of Tecentriq and Avastin is superior to Tecentriq alone.

When First-Line HCC Rx Fails, What Comes Next?
4 October 2019
Sorafenib is considered by many doctors to be the front-line treatment for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Now, clinicians are focusing on possible second-line treatment options. Recently, tyrosine kinase inhibitors and immune checkpoint inhibitors are being considered as viable second-line options. From the RESORCE and CheckMate 040 trials, Regorafenib (Stivarga) from Bayer, and nivolumab (Opdivo) from Bristol-Myers Squibb, have been shown as possible second-line options. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines were updated recently to include cabozantinib (Cabometyx) from Exelixis and lenvatinib (Lenvima) from Eisai as well.

New Genetic Treatment Targets Liver Cancer
3 October 2019
Netherlands Cancer Institute and other medical specialists worked together to create a new treatment for liver cancer by inducing and exploiting vulnerabilities of cancer cells with the TP53 mutation. Liver cancer cells with TP53 mutation can speed up their degeneration and help eliminate cancer cells without impacting the growth of other normal cells. The researchers found CDC7 inhibitor can induce TP53 mutation of liver cancer cells and then quicken cell aging, while having no effects on healthy cells. Once the cancer cells have the mutation, the team discovered that sertraline, a medicine used for depression, in combination with mTOR inhibitor speed up the death of aging cells.

Eisai’s Hepatocellular Carcinoma Treatment Lenvima To Get Insurance Benefit
2 October 2019
The Korean government will now grant insurance benefit to Eisai’s Lenvima (Lenvatinib) as a first-line treatment for unresectable advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Patients with inoperable HCC or have stage III or higher, will now be reimbursed when using Lenvima as a monotherapy. This decision was based on the phase 3 clinical trial REFLECT study2 proving the treatment improved progression-free survival compared to Nexavar. The REFLECT trial on Lenvima evaluated the efficacy and safety of the drug, compared to Nexavar, in 954 patients. Lenvima showed 2 % complete remission, 38% partial remission, and 40.6% objective response rate.

Combination Of Atezolizumab And Bevacizumab Shows Early Efficacy In Unresectable HCC
28 September 2019
According to 2 clinical trials, Atezolizumab (Tecentriq) in combination with bevacizumab (Avastin) induced objective responses in patients with unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). The first trial involved 104 patients with no prior therapy. In the second study, investigators randomized 119 patients with untreated HCC to the same combination or to atezolizumab only. Clinically meaningful responses were seen in more than one-third of patients. A randomized trial showed that the combination reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 45% versus atezolizumab alone. 37 patients had stable disease, resulting in a disease control rate of 71%.

ESMO: Opdivo Study Author Looks For Bright Spots In First-Line Liver Cancer Failure
27 September 2019
According to study author Thomas Yau, M.D., of the University of Hong Kong, the CheckMate 459 study of Opdivo did not fulfill its primary goal to help previously untreated liver cancer patients live longer. However, Opdivo beat Bayer's Nexavar, the current standard of care, when it came to complete response rate. Bristol had been hoping to challenge Nexavar, Bayer's long-standard therapy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Merck & Co. and Eisai's Lenvima won its first-line nod in August 2018, based on data showing Lenvima patients lived 13.6 months at the median, compared with Nexavar's 12.3 months.

Immunotherapy Improves Overall Survival For Hepatocellular Carcinoma
26 September 2019
New data presented from the CheckMate 459 study found that nivolumab may serve as an effective therapy option for patients with advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). These results were presented at the ESMO Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain on September 27, 2019. The phase 3 CheckMate 459 study randomized 743 patients with advanced HCC to nivolumab or sorafenib as first-line treatment. The median OS was 16.4 months for nivolumab and 14.7 months for sorafenib. The results also showed that the overall response rate was 15% for nivolumab, including 14 patients with complete response, and 7% for sorafenib, in which 5 patients who had complete response.

Protein Discovered by Scientists in Singapore Could Form Basis for New Types of Liver Cancer Treatment
26 September 2019
A protein called Agrin has been discovered by scientists from the Agency for Science Technology and Research’s (A*Star) Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) who were working in collaboration with researchers from Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. Researchers stated that Agrin “plays a vital role in the development and spread of cancer cells to secondary organ sites such as the lungs.” they also found that the inhibition of Agrin led to a reduction in tumor size and progression. Going forward, the team will be investigating how targeting Agrin can prevent blood vessel formation in liver and other tumors.

Can Sorafenib Be Topped In Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma?
25 September 2019
According to the results of the randomized phase 3 CALGB 80802 clinical trial, sorafenib (Nexavar) plus doxorubicin (Adriamycin, Rubex) failed to improve survival in patients with advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) compared with sorafenib alone. The CALGB 80802 trial enrolled a total of 356 patients between 2010 and 2015 with locally advanced or metastatic HCC who did not receive systemic therapy. After a median follow-up of 36.1 months, the median overall survival was not statistically different between the sorafenib plus doxorubicin arm and sorafenib alone arm, 9.3 months vs 9.4 months, respectively. Also, the median progression-free survival was also not statistically different between the sorafenib plus doxorubicin arm and sorafenib alone arm, 4 months vs 3.7 months, respectively.

Auransa Presents New Preclinical Data On AU-409, A Novel, AI-Derived Drug Candidate For The Treatment Of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
24 September 2019
Auransa Inc. is developing AU-409, novel lead drug candidate being for the treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Auransa Inc. is an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven biotechnology company developing precision medicines. A team of researchers conducted in vivo studies to measure the antitumor activity of AU-409 in an orthotopic mouse model of HCC. The study results demonstrated promising antitumor activity. Tumor burden was reduced by 63%, and the treatment was well tolerated. The company expects to initiate first-in-human Phase 1 trials in the first half of 2020.

Upfront Rt Plus Nivolumab May Benefit Patients With Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma
24 September 2019
According to new data presented at the 2019 American Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting, Combining nivolumab with radiation therapy (RT) may improve objective responses and outcomes in patients with unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). The researchers retrospectively identified 84 patients who received both nivolumab and RT. 25 patients were analyzed who received upfront RT prior to/overlapping with nivolumab initiation and 9 patients receiving salvage RT for longer than 4 weeks following nivolumab initiation. With a median follow-up 17.8 months, among responders, the median duration of response was 9.8 months.

Cabometyx Superior To Stivarga As Second-Line Liver Cancer Treatment
24 September 2019
According to a study presented at the International Liver Cancer Association 2019 meeting, patients treated with Cabometyx as second-line therapy for patients with advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) who previously received Nexavar demonstrated superior progression-free survival and improved overall survival compared with Stivarga. In the CELESTIAL trial, cabozantinib improved median progression-free survival (5.2 vs. 1.9 months) and median overall survival (10.2 vs. 8 month) compared with placebo. The RESOURCE trials showed that cabozantinib improved progression-free survival (5.6 vs. 3.2 months) and numerically improved median overall survival (11.4 vs. 10.8 months) compared with regorafenib. “These results may support clinicians in making informed treatment decisions in order to deliver optimal care for their patients,” said Katie Kelley, MD, study investigator from the University of California, San Francisco.

On The Double: Immunotherapy Combinations In Liver Cancer
24 September 2019
Radioembolization is a treatment in which tiny beads filled with radioactive material are delivered through the hepatic arteries that feed the tumor. The procedure blocks the blood supply and delivers radiation to the tumor while sparing normal tissue. This treatment lowers alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels. AFP is used as a protein tumor marker because it is elevated in 60% to 70% of people with liver cancer. CheckMate-040 was a clinical trial in which patients received the immunotherapy medication Opdivo (nivolumab) alone or with another type of immunotherapy drug, Yervoy (ipilimumab), with or without Cabometyx (cabozantinib), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that blocks some of the cellular signals that can stimulate cancer cell growth.

Study Suggests New Metabolic Target For Liver Cancer
23 September 2019
Research in a mouse model of liver cancer shows that disrupting a metabolic pathway in the liver in a way that creates a more “cancer-like” metabolism actually reduces tumor formation. The study, led by Eric Taylor, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, shows that the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC), a protein complex that is critical for glucose production in the liver, may represent a new target for preventing liver cancer. Taylor notes that these trials could provide important information about the safety and therapeutic contribution of altering MPC activity in people

Can-Fite Presents New Data On The Treatment Of Advanced Liver Cancer With Namodenoson At The ILCA Conference
23 September 2019
Dr. Michael Silverman, the Medical Director of Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd. presented “The Safety and Efficacy of Namodenoson in the Second Line Treatment of Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) Patients with Underlying Child-Pugh B (CPB) Liver Cirrhosis: A Phase 2, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study” at the International Liver Cancer Association (ILCA). While the Phase II study did not achieve its primary endpoint of overall survival (OS) in the whole population, superiority in OS was found in a sub-population. Median OS was 6.8 months for those treated with Namodenoson as compared to 4.3 months for those treated with placebo.

Celsion Co-Sponsors Hepatocellular Carcinoma Symposium At The International Liver Cancer Association (ILCA) Annual Conference
23 September 2019
Celsion Corporation cosponsored a symposium focused on Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) at the recent 13th Annual Conference of the International Liver Cancer Association (ILCA). The program was chaired by Ghassan Abou-Alfa, MD, MBA, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Professor. Dr. Abou-Alfa and Prof. Riccardo Lencioni, MD, FSIR, EBIR, have been involved in the development of Celsion’s lead product ThermoDox® for the treatment of HCC. “ThermoDox® is being studied as the first potential curative treatment for HCC in a large, randomized, multicenter Phase III trial,” said Prof. Lencioni.

AFP Response Could Assist In Cabozantinib Therapy Selection In HCC
22 September 2019
According to findings of a sub-analysis of the phase III CELESTIAL trial, patients with advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) treated with cabozantinib (Cabometyx) had higher alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) response rates versus those treated with placebo. Robin Katie Kelley, MD, explained that the positive outcomes are worth noting and warrant future research into AFP response. Normally, elevated levels of serum AFP have indicated poor prognosis across all stages of HCC. Results of the CELESTIAL trial showed that cabozantinib significantly improved overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with previously treated advanced HCC, independent of baseline AFP.

Safety Of Nivolumab/Ipilimumab Combination Confirmed For Advanced HCC
21 September 2019
For those with advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), the CheckMate 040 study found that the combination of nivolumab (Opdivo), a PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, with ipilimumab (Yervoy), a CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor, can be effective. Anthony B. El-Khoueiry, MD and his team compared a total of 148 patients with advanced HCC who had previously been treated with first-line therapy sorafenib (Nexavar). The phase III CheckMate 9DW study, soon to begin, will compare nivolumab and ipilimumab against the standard of care.

Comparing Sorafenib And Lenvatinib For The Frontline Treatment Of Advanced HCC
20 September 2019
Both sorafenib (Nexavar) and lenvatinib (Lenvima) have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Data from the REFLECT study showed that if a patient has a response with either agent, which could provide a survival of 22 months. Richard S. Finn, MD, professor of Clinical Medicine Division of Hematology/Oncology, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, explains that he is more likely to give lenvatinib for bulky tumors or for patients with high alpha fetoprotein levels, or any other poor prognostic factors.

Phase I Study Results Show First-In-Class NBTXR3 Could Present As A Valuable Option For Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma Or Liver Metastasis
18 September 2019
NANOBIOTIX has had positive findings from their phase I study evaluating first-in-class radio enhancer NBTXR3 activated by stereotactic body radiation (SBRT). The population for this study included 11 Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) patients with a minimum life expectancy of three months that were unsuitable for local surgery or local treatment. SBRT is a well-tolerated alternative therapy, however the dose is limited by hepatic function. NBTXR3 also proved to remain within the injected tumor with no leakage to surrounding tissue. NBTXR3 is a first-in-class product designed to destroy tumors through physical cell death when activated by radiotherapy.

Surgical Oncologist Highlights Treatment Approaches For HCC Ahead Of ISGIO
18 September 2019
The treatment landscape for patients with advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) has advanced with several more options becoming available over the past few years. One option for patients with early-stage disease is ablation. This is where physicians can use a probe to freeze or burn out the cancer if it is in a favorable position, with either microwave or radiofrequency ablation. For patients with larger tumors, intra-arterial options are available. This is a treatment that uses beads that are embedded with either chemotherapy or radiation, such as yttrium-90 (Y-90). Y-90 and related treatments are able to attack the liver cancer directly.

Newly Discovered Biomarkers Suggest Who May Benefit From Liver Cancer Treatment
17 September 2019
A team of researchers at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found a biomarker that may help to determine which patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) will respond to treatment with Nexavar (sorafenib). The study investigator Dr. Renuka Iyer, section chief for gastrointestinal oncology at Roswell Park stated that “Only recently, in the last two or three years, we've gotten five or six more drugs to treat liver cancer. And so, when you have the options, you want to know which patients are going to benefit from the one you've always had, and which patients you may want to consider something else or consider a combination therapy.” The team collected blood samples from 30 patients. They discovered that patients with elevated levels of a subset of CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells (cells they kill cancer cells) had better outcomes.

Lenvima To Get Benefit As 1st-Line Treatment Of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
16 September 2019
Lenvima (ingredient: lenvatinib) is a new liver cancer drug that may now benefit as a first-line treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). The REFLECT trial on Lenvima evaluated the efficacy and safety of the drug, compared to Nexavar, in 954 patients in 20 countries with unresectable HCC. The Lenvima-treated group had 7.4-months in time to progression (TTP), whereas the Nexavar group had 3.7 months. Masatoshi Kudo, a professor of Kindai University was the chief researcher of the REFLECT study. The Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) stated that it would expand the reimbursement of Lenvima in the first-line treatment for patients with HCC who cannot undergo surgery or topical treatment.

Brit Invention Saves Transplant Patients' Lives By Keeping Livers ‘Alive' Outside Body
7 September 2019
A British invention, called the OrganOx, can keep human livers “alive” outside the body which are ready to be used for transplant. This device doubles the “shelf life” of a donor liver and reduces the risk of tissue damage, and so far, saving 500 patients facing death while waiting for a suitable donor. It was created by transplant experts, Prof Peter Friend and Prof Constantin-Coussios. Prof Joerg-Matthias Pollok, the head transplant surgeon at Royal Free said, “Having the machine buys us time to test the liver and make sure it is functioning well, which means there isn’t the rush to transplant often late at night or in the early hours. It takes the pressure off.”

Assessment Of Treatment With Sorafenib Plus Doxorubicin Vs Sorafenib Alone In Patients With Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma
7 September 2019
Previous studies have shown significant improvement in overall survival (OS) when using doxorubicin plus sorafenib in the treatment of advanced hepatocellular cancer (HCC). In a randomized phase 3 clinical trial led by Alliance with 356 patients, median OS was 9.3 months in the doxorubicin plus sorafenib arm and 9.4 months in the sorafenib alone arm. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 4 months in the doxorubicin plus sorafenib arm and 3.7 months in the sorafenib alone arm. The study began in February 2010 and was completed in May 2015, with OS as the primary endpoint.

Real-Time ctDNA Evaluation In Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma
6 September 2019
A recently published study involved patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) undergoing circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) testing. Over a 3-year period, 45 samples were collected from 35 patients. The median number of genetic alterations per samples was 3.5. A total of 122 unique alterations were identified. The team of researchers stated, “[ctDNA assessment] holds incredible promise for early detection of disease … and evaluation of treatment response and mechanisms of resistance.”

Scientists Confirm Efficacy Of A Combination Therapy For Advanced Liver Cancer
5 September 2019
Although sorafenib improves overall survival (OS)in patients with advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), researchers question what can increase its effectiveness. Scientists began to test whether a radiological procedure called transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) could increase patient survival. A team from Taiwan and Japan, led by Dr Victor Kok from Kuang Tien General Hospital Cancer Center and Asia University Taiwan, performed the first large, national-level, population-based cohort study. After tracking the data of 2112 Taiwanese patients, the team identified a 26% decrease in mortality when TACE was added to sorafenib treatment, compared with sorafenib treatment alone.

Laboratory For Advanced Medicine's Liver Cancer Test Gets FDA Breakthrough Tag
4 September 2019
The FDA has granted breakthrough status to liver cancer liquid biopsy, created by Laboratory for Advanced Medicine (LAM). According to American Cancer Society, the existing blood test for liver cancer which detects alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), is flawed. The limitations of AFP and other screening techniques in early stage detection matter as the outcomes of liver cancer patients improve if the disease is treated when the tumor is small and localized. LAM’s approach is to use the DNA methylation alterations involved in tumorigenesis to detect cancer in its early stages. This method entails isolating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) from blood samples and analyzing it to identify DNA methylation patterns specific to HCC.

Tiziana Life Sciences Reports Positive Phase 2a Clinical Data Exhibiting Positive Clinical Activity With Milciclib Monotherapy In Advanced Sorafenib-Refractory Or -Intolerant Patients With Unresectable Or Metastatic Hepatocellular Carcinoma
4 September 2019
Tiziana Life Sciences plc is a biotechnology company focusing on the discovery and development of innovative therapeutics oncology. They currently have a Phase 2a study observing patients with unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) and their Milciclib monotherapy. The study has shown that Milciclib was well tolerated with manageable toxicities and no recorded drug related deaths. The trial enrolled 28 patients in Italy, Greece and Israel. 14 out of 28 patients completed a 6-month duration of the trial. Both median time to progression (TTP) and progression-free survival (PFS) were 5.9 months. 18 of 28 patients showed Clinical Benefit Rate.

Liver Transplant Candidates With Public Insurance Have Worse Waitlist Outcomes Than Those With Private Insurance
3 September 2019
According to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco, patients on the waitlist for a liver transplant had significantly worse outcomes with public insurance compared to Kaiser Permanente or other private insurance. Liver transplant is the best treatment for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), though about 15% – 30% of candidates drop out from the waitlist within a year of being listed, primarily due to organ scarcity and cancer progression. African Americans have twice the HCC incidence rate as whites but are also the least likely to undergo potentially curative treatment. Neil Mehta, MD, UCSF Health gastroenterologist and associate professor of gastroenterology at UCSF, stated that “Public insurance should be recognized as a risk factor associated with waitlist dropout, and necessary steps should be implemented to mitigate the increased risk of dropout among these patients.”

 

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