Liver cancer and here are the symptoms: a new treatment for advanced patients

From Vera Martinella

First-line treatment is available that can extend patient survival, with benefits also for quality of life. Liver cancer is often diagnosed late, and remains a major killer

Additional opportunity for treatment di Prolonging the survival of patients with the most common form of liver cancer, advanced or unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma who have not had previous systemic therapy. Approximately 13,000 new cases diagnosed in Italy In 2020, 9,100 of them were due to hepatitis B and C viruses and the rest were due to other liver diseases. Unfortunately, the tumor does not give clear and specific symptoms for that Only 10% of cases are identified early When surgery can be critical: that’s why cure rates are still low Only one fifth of patients survive five years after diagnosisThe Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa) recently approved the drug atezolizumab which, in conjunction with bevacizumabimproves overall and progression-free survival compared to previous standard of care.

New care at the fore

The green light for Aifa came in light of results obtained in the (Phase III) IMbrave 150 study in 501 adult patients which showed how administration of atezolizumab and bevacizumab, after a follow-up period of 8.6 months, reduced the risk of death (overall) 42 %). In addition, at a follow-up of 15.6 months, the risk of death appeared to be reduced by 34%), improving what was achieved with standard sorafenib treatment. Approval of atezolizumab-bevacizumab combination marks a milestone in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma—says Antonio GaspariniProfessor of Internal Medicine at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome Campus and Director of the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences at the IRCCS Agostinho Gemelli University Hospital Foundation -. After more than 10 years of immobilization, first-line therapy is finally available, able to prolong survival of patients with inoperable tumour, especially sensitive because they also have impaired liver function. The median patient survival was 19.2 months, which is the longest reported in a phase III study in this malignancy. A big step forward.

Another important goal

The analysis, conducted for the first time, also confirms the benefits reported by patients in terms of quality of life, achieving other important goals. With the combination, in fact, the effects of the tumor are felt more slowly and the effect on work, leisure time, ability to walk distances and on symptoms are less. These are the best data obtained so far in the history of liver cancer treatment and are convenient in terms of manageability and tolerability with excellent results also on patients’ quality of life – confirms this Fortunato Ciardello, Professor of Oncology and Vice-Chancellor of the Luigi Vanvitelli University of Campania -. The interaction between immunotherapy and antiangiogenic therapy represents the new therapeutic standard in this patient group.

Watch out for these symptoms

Because of late diagnosis in the vast majority of cases, liver cancer is the fifth most common killer after lung, colorectal, breast, and pancreatic cancer. If, especially in the early stages, no signs of yes, when the disease has spread, symptoms such as Pain in the upper abdomenwhich can also radiate to the back and shoulders, Abdominal swellingAnd the Weight loss and appetite, nausea, vomiting, feeling full, tiredness, jaundice (i.e. yellow skin color), Dark urine and fever. These are signs that should not be overlooked, it is best to talk about them with a doctor. A number of causes (including: hepatitis B and C virus infections, alcoholism, genetic and autoimmune diseases, diabetes, obesity) can cause persistent liver damage: these chronic liver diseases often worsen over the years leading to disease Cirrhosis of the liver, a serious disease that over time can predispose to the appearance of cancer. Given the particular complexity of the disease, which is often diagnosed late, and which often accompanies comorbidities, it is important that patients with liver cancer follow a multidisciplinary team consisting of specialists with different skills – he concludes Evan Gardini, President of the EpaC Onlus Association -. Parallel intervention by gastroenterologists, oncologists, diagnostic and interventional surgeons, and radiologists is needed in order to direct patients and family members towards structures with the best diagnostic and therapeutic pathways.

Jul 8 2022 (change on Jul 8, 2022 | 18:18)

Leave a Comment