Publications by authors named "Akinobu Tawada"

68 Publications

Serum Angiopoietin 2 acts as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in hepatocellular carcinoma.

J Cancer 2021 5;12(9):2694-2701. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is typically accompanied by abundant arterial blood flow. Although angiogenic growth factors such as Angiopoietin 2 (Ang2) play a central role in tumor angiogenesis in HCC, the role of serum Ang2 as a biomarker in HCC remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to investigate the potential of Ang2 as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in HCC using a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The median Ang2 levels in controls (n=20), chronic liver disease patients (n=98), and HCC patients (n=275) were 1.58, 2.33, and 3.53 ng/mL, respectively. The optimal cut-off value of Ang2 was determined as 3.5 ng/mL by receiver operating curve analysis. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of Ang2 for HCC detection were 50.9, 83.7, and 59.5%, respectively. Spearman's rank correlation coefficient analysis demonstrated only a weak correlation between Ang2 serum levels and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) or des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin (DCP) serum levels. The diagnostic value of Ang2 was comparable to those of other existing markers. In addition, 24 out of 73 patients with normal AFP and DCP levels (32.9%) demonstrated abnormally high Ang2 levels (≥3.5 ng/mL). Although no significant difference in overall survival was found between Ang2 and Ang2 patients with curative ablation therapy, recurrence-free survival (RFS) in Ang2 patients was observed to be significantly shorter than those in Ang2 patients. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that high serum Ang2 levels (≥3.5 ng/mL) and the presence of multiple tumors were poor prognostic factors. In conclusion, our findings indicate that serum Ang2 is a potential novel biomarker for both diagnosis and prognosis in HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/jca.56436DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8040723PMC
March 2021

The impact of FGF19/FGFR4 signaling inhibition in antitumor activity of multi-kinase inhibitors in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Sci Rep 2021 Mar 5;11(1):5303. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Division of Stem Cell and Molecular Medicine, Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 108-8639, Japan.

FGF19/FGFR4 autocrine signaling is one of the main targets for multi-kinase inhibitors (MKIs). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying FGF19/FGFR4 signaling in the antitumor effects to MKIs in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain unclear. In this study, the impact of FGFR4/ERK signaling inhibition on HCC following MKI treatment was analyzed in vitro and in vivo assays. Serum FGF19 in HCC patients treated using MKIs, such as sorafenib (n = 173) and lenvatinib (n = 40), was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Lenvatinib strongly inhibited the phosphorylation of FRS2 and ERK, the downstream signaling molecules of FGFR4, compared with sorafenib and regorafenib. Additional use of a selective FGFR4 inhibitor with sorafenib further suppressed FGFR4/ERK signaling and synergistically inhibited HCC cell growth in culture and xenograft subcutaneous tumors. Although serum FGF19 (n = 68) patients treated using sorafenib exhibited a significantly shorter progression-free survival and overall survival than FGF19 (n = 105) patients, there were no significant differences between FGF19 (n = 21) and FGF19 (n = 19) patients treated using lenvatinib. In conclusion, robust inhibition of FGF19/FGFR4 is of importance for the exertion of antitumor effects of MKIs. Serum FGF19 levels may function as a predictive marker for drug response and survival in HCC patients treated using sorafenib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84117-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7935880PMC
March 2021

Propofol midazolam for sedation during radiofrequency ablation in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

JGH Open 2021 Feb 22;5(2):273-279. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

Departmetn of Anesthesiology, Graduate School of Medicine Chiba University Chiba Japan.

Background And Aim: Standardization of the sedation protocol during radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is needed. This randomized, single-blind, investigator-initiated trial compared clinical outcomes during and after RFA using propofol and midazolam, respectively, in patients with HCC.

Methods: Few- and small-nodule HCC patients (≤3 nodules and ≤3 cm) were randomly assigned to either propofol or midazolam. Patient satisfaction was assessed using a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS) (1 mm = not at all satisfied, 100 mm = completely satisfied). Sedation recovery rates 1, 2, 3, and 4 h after RFA were evaluated based on Modified Observer's Assessment of Alertness/Sedation (MOAA/S) scores; full recovery was defined as a MOAA/S score of 5.

Results: Between July 2013 and September 2017, 143 patients with HCC were enrolled, and 135 patients were randomly assigned to the treatment group. Compared with midazolam, propofol exhibited similar median procedural satisfaction (propofol: 73.1 mm, midazolam: 76.9 mm, = 0.574). Recovery rates 1 and 2 h after RFA were higher in the propofol group than in the midazolam group. Meanwhile, recovery rates observed 3 and 4 h after RFA were similar in the two groups. The safety profiles during and after RFA were almost identical in the two groups.

Conclusion: Patient satisfaction was almost identical in patients receiving propofol and midazolam sedation during RFA. Propofol sedation resulted in reduced recovery time compared with midazolam sedation in patients with HCC. The safety profiles of both propofol and midazolam sedation during and after RFA were acceptable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgh3.12483DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7857294PMC
February 2021

Colonoscopic evaluation of diarrhea/colitis occurring as an immune-related adverse event.

Jpn J Clin Oncol 2021 Mar;51(3):363-370

Department of Medical Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Objective: Diarrhea is often observed as an immune-related adverse event. In this study, we conducted a retrospective review of the severity of diarrhea, its treatment and the endoscopic findings in patients developing diarrhea as an immune-related adverse event.

Methods: From August 2015 to June 2019, a total of 369 patients received treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors at our hospital. For this study, development of grade 2 or more diarrhea in these patients was defined as an immune-related adverse event. We analyzed the histopathological severity of the bowel lesions according to the Nancy histological index for ulcerative colitis.

Results: Of the 369 patients, 27 (7.3%) developed diarrhea as an immune-related adverse event. Of these 27 patients, 18 received steroid treatment. Colonoscopy was performed in 17 patients and culture of the feces in 18. The tests revealed evidence of bacterial colitis (Aeromonas hydrophila) in two patients. The Nancy histological index was 4, 3, 2, 1 and 0 in two, three, two, two and seven patients, respectively. No findings on colonoscopy were observed in 7 of the 17 patients (41%) who underwent colonoscopy, and most of these patients recovered without steroid treatment. Patients with lower values of the Nancy histological index tended to show better responses to steroid treatment.

Conclusions: To avoid unnecessary steroid administration, colonoscopic evaluation is essential in patients receiving treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors who present with diarrhea as an immune-related adverse event. In addition, the endoscopic findings could be useful to predict the response to steroid treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jjco/hyaa203DOI Listing
March 2021

Analyses of Intermediate-Stage Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients Receiving Transarterial Chemoembolization prior to Designing Clinical Trials.

Liver Cancer 2020 Sep 22;9(5):596-612. Epub 2020 Jul 22.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background: Intermediate-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has a high frequency of recurrence and progression to advanced stage after transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), particularly in patients with high tumor burden. Promising new results from immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and ICI-based therapies are expected to replace TACE, especially in HCC patients with high tumor burden.

Aims: The present study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of TACE with a view to design clinical trials comparing TACE and ICIs.

Methods: We retrospectively identified intermediate-stage HCC patients undergoing TACE from our database and subdivided patients into low- and high-burden groups based on three subclassification models using the diameter of the maximum tumor and the number of tumors. Clinical outcomes were compared between low- and high-burden intermediate-stage HCC.

Results: Of 1,161 newly diagnosed HCC patients, 316 were diagnosed with intermediate-stage disease and underwent TACE. The median overall survival from high-burden intermediate-stage disease was not significantly different by clinical course, reaching high tumor burden in all subclassification models. The prognosis of high-burden patients after initial TACE was poor compared with low-burden patients for two models (except for the up-to-seven criteria). In all three models, high-burden patients showed a poor durable response rate (DRR) both ≥3 months and ≥6 months and poor prognosis after TACE. Moreover, patients with confirmed durable response ≥3 months and ≥6 months showed better survival outcomes for high-burden intermediate-stage HCC.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the basis for selecting a population that would not benefit from TACE and setting DRR ≥3 months or ≥6 months as alternative endpoints when designing clinical trials comparing TACE and ICIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000508809DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7548915PMC
September 2020

Potential of Lenvatinib for an Expanded Indication from the REFLECT Trial in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Liver Cancer 2020 Aug 5;9(4):382-396. Epub 2020 May 5.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background: The present study aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of lenvatinib and verify the possibility of lenvatinib for the expanded indication from the REFLECT trial in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in real-world practice, primarily focusing on the population that was excluded in the REFLECT trial.

Methods: We retrospectively collected data on patients with advanced HCC who were administered lenvatinib in 7 institutions in Japan.

Results: Of 152 advanced HCC patients, 95 and 57 patients received lenvatinib in first-line and second- or later-line systemic therapies, respectively. The median progression-free survival in Child-Pugh class A patients was nearly equal between first- and second- or later-line therapies (5.2 months; 95% CI 3.7-6.9 for first line, 4.8 months; 95% CI 3.8-5.9 for second or later line, = 0.933). According to the modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, the objective response rate of 27 patients (18%) who showed a high burden of intrahepatic lesions (i.e., main portal vein and/or bile duct invasion or 50% or higher liver occupation) at baseline radiological assessment was 41% and similar with that of other population. The present study included 20 patients (13%) with Child-Pugh class B. These patients observed high frequency rates of liver function-related adverse events due to lenvatinib. The 8-week dose intensity of lenvatinib had a strong correlation with liver function according to both the Child-Pugh and albumin - bilirubin scores.

Conclusion: Lenvatinib had potential benefits for patients with advanced HCC with second- or later-line therapies and a high burden of intrahepatic lesions. Dose modification should be paid increased attention among patients with poor liver function, such as Child-Pugh class B patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000507022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7506220PMC
August 2020

Interferon-γ induced PD-L1 expression and soluble PD-L1 production in gastric cancer.

Oncol Lett 2020 Sep 19;20(3):2161-2168. Epub 2020 Jun 19.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.

Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) plays an essential role in tumor cell escape from anti-tumor immunity in various types of cancer, including gastric cancer (GC). The present study investigated the intracellular and membrane-bound expression of PD-L1 in the GC cell lines MKN1, MKN74, KATO III and OCUM-1. Furthermore, soluble PD-L1 (sPD-L1) level in the supernatant of GC cells and the serum of patients with GC and healthy controls was determined by ELISA. Interferon (IFN)-γ treatment of cells resulted in increased cytoplasmic expression of PD-L1 in GC cells in a dose-dependent manner, except for MKN74 cells; however, there was no association between tumor necrosis factor-α treatment and enhanced PD-L1 expression. Concordant with these findings, results from flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that membrane-bound PD-L1 expression was also increased following GC cell treatment with IFN-γ in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, significant sPD-L1 overproduction was observed only in the culture supernatant of OCUM-1 cells. Serum level of sPD-L1 was significantly increased in patients with GC, in particular in stage IV patients, compared with healthy controls. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that IFN-γ treatment increased the intracellular and membrane-bound PD-L1 expression in GC cells. In addition, sPD-L1 was detected not only in the supernatant of GC cells but also in the serum of patients with GC. Further investigation on the underlying mechanism of regulation of PD-L1 expression and sPD-L1 production is required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ol.2020.11757DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7400993PMC
September 2020

Switching to systemic therapy after locoregional treatment failure: Definition and best timing.

Clin Mol Hepatol 2020 04 15;26(2):155-162. Epub 2020 Jan 15.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

In patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) without both macrovascular invasion and extrahepatic metastasis, the initial treatment choice recommended is transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). Before sorafenib came into wide use, TACE had been pointlessly carried out repeatedly. It was in the early 2010s that the concept of TACE refractory was advocated. Two retrospective studies from Japan indicated that conversion from TACE to sorafenib the day after patients were deemed as TACE refractory improved overall survival compared with continued TACE, according to the definition by the Japan Society of Hepatology. Nowadays, phase 3 trials have shown clinical benefits of several novel molecular target agents. Compared with the era of sorafenib, sequential treatments with these molecular target agents have gradually prolonged patients' survival and have become major strategies in patients with HCC. Taking these together, conversion from TACE to systemic therapies at the time of TACE refractory, compared with before, may have a greater impact on survival and may be considered deeper in the decisions-making process in patients with unresectable HCC who are candidate for TACE. Up-to-date information on the concept of TACE refractory is summarized in this review. We believe that the survival of patients with unresectable HCC without both macrovascular invasion and extrahepatic metastasis may be dramatically improved by optimal timing of TACE refractory and switching to systemic therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3350/cmh.2019.0021nDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7160341PMC
April 2020

Simultaneous chylous ascites and chylothorax during ramucirumab plus docetaxel chemotherapy in a patient with non-small lung cell cancer.

Int Cancer Conf J 2019 Jul 25;8(3):114-117. Epub 2019 Feb 25.

1Department of Medical Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Inohana 1-8-1, Chiba, 260-8670 Japan.

A 69-year-old woman was diagnosed as having non-small cell lung cancer (adenocarcinoma, T1aN3M1b). She had no history of surgery or abdominal trauma. She was treated with ramucirumab (10 mg/kg) plus docetaxel (60 mg/m) intravenously (RAM + DTX) every 3 weeks. Although an enhanced CT examination showed a partial tumor response after eight courses of RAM + DTX, she gradually began to experience abdominal fullness with severe peripheral pitching edema. Her body weight increased by 18 kg in 2 months and RAM + DTX chemotherapy was discontinued. An enhanced CT examination showed a large amount of ascites and pleural effusion, with no obstructions of the central vein or lymphatic ducts. The ascites were white and milky in appearance and contained 527 mg/dL of triglyceride. In addition, her pleural effusion was also white and milky in appearance. No further increases in ascites and pleural effusion were observed thereafter. Four months after her last RAM + DTX chemotherapy, she continued to exhibit a partial response and no increases in ascites or pleural effusion were present. The chylous effusion might have been caused by the RAM + DTX chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13691-019-00366-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545190PMC
July 2019

Sequential therapy with sorafenib and regorafenib for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: a multicenter retrospective study in Japan.

Invest New Drugs 2020 02 6;38(1):172-180. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan.

Background Conversion from sorafenib to regorafenib is primarily an evidence-based treatment strategy in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of sequential therapy with sorafenib and regorafenib in patients with advanced HCC by analysis of outcomes in clinical practice with the aim to complement phase III findings. Methods The medical records of patients with advanced HCC receiving regorafenib were retrieved to collect data on sorafenib administration at seven Japanese institutions. Radiological responses and adverse events were evaluated using the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1 and the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0, respectively. Results Before March 2018, 44 patients were administered regorafenib for advanced HCC. The median sorafenib treatment duration was 8.4 months. The most common adverse events were similar to those reported by the RESORCE trial. The median overall survival (OS) was 17.3 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.4-22.9), and 17 of 37 patients (45.9%) discontinued regorafenib and received sequential systemic therapy after regorafenib. These patients had significantly longer OS than those who were treated by the best supportive care or sub-optimal therapy (not reached versus 8.7 months [95% CI 5.8-11.7]; P < 0.001). Conclusion The results based on Japanese clinical practices verified the tolerability of regorafenib in advanced HCC. Major regorafenib-associated adverse events were similar to those related to sorafenib. OS was significantly longer than expected, which might be associated with the sequential systemic therapies after regorafenib, mainly lenvatinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-019-00801-8DOI Listing
February 2020

Transarterial chemoembolization as a substitute to radiofrequency ablation for treating Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage 0/A hepatocellular carcinoma.

Oncotarget 2018 Apr 20;9(30):21560-21568. Epub 2018 Apr 20.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background And Aim: Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is the standard procedure for treating Barcelona clinic liver cancer (BCLC) stage B hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, it is often carried out in the treatment of BCLC stage 0/A HCC for various reasons. This study aimed to elucidate the prognosis for BCLC stage 0/A HCC patients treated with TACE or with radiofrequency ablation (RFA).

Materials And Methods: The prognosis of 242 BCLC stage 0/A HCC patients within Milan criteria who underwent initially TACE or RFA were retrospectively analyzed using propensity score matching analysis.

Results: The analyses of baseline patient characteristics revealed that the maximum tumor size and the proportion of BCLC stage A patients were significantly higher in patients treated with TACE than in those treated with RFA (<0.001 and 0.047, respectively). After adjusting these factors using propensity score matching (1:3 matching), patients treated with TACE (n=32) and those treated with RFA (n=96) were further analyzed. The local recurrence rate was significantly higher in the TACE group than in the RFA group (<0.001). However, the overall survival (OS) in HCC patients treated with TACE was comparable to that in HCC patients treated with RFA (1 year, 93.5 vs. 95.8%; 3 years, 75.4 vs. 85.8%; 5 years, 61.8 vs. 70.7%; =0.196). Multivariate analyses followed by univariate analyses revealed that serum bilirubin level (=0.032), serum albumin level (=0.008), HBV-DNA (=0.013), and tumor number (=0.021) were independent predictors of OS.

Conclusion: TACE can substitute RFA at least in some patients with BCLC 0/A HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5940395PMC
April 2018

Association of Genotype with Hepatic Steatosis in Chronic Hepatitis C Patients Treated with Peginterferon and Ribavirin Combination Therapy.

Int J Med Sci 2017 4;14(11):1088-1093. Epub 2017 Sep 4.

Department of Molecular Virology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Japan.

Background: Genetic variation near the interferon lambda 3 () is known to be associated with response to pegylated interferon (pegIFN) and ribavirin combination therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection which is often accompanied by hepatic steatosis.

Aims: We examined whether this genetic variation is associated with host lipids and treatment response.

Methods: A total of 101 Japanese patients who had underwent liver biopsy before treatment with pegIFN and ribavirin for HCV genotype 1b infection were retrospectively analyzed for association between genotypes (rs8099917) and clinical factors including histopathological features of the liver. The presence of >5% steatosis in the liver specimen was defined as hepatic steatosis.

Results: Forty patients (40%) had liver steatosis before therapy. Patients with minor genotype (non-TT) showed lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (p=0.0045), higher γ-glutamyl transpeptidase level (p=0.0003) and higher prevalence of hepatic steatosis (p=0.0002). Advanced fibrosis [odds ratio (OR) 4.63, p=0.03] and major genotype (OR 0.13, p=0.001) were 2 independent factors for determining the presence of hepatic steatosis. Among the factors associated with sustained virological response, genotype was the most significant predictor, as per multivariate analysis.

Conclusions: Our results confirmed that genotype is associated with hepatic steatosis as well as IFN response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/ijms.20171DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5666539PMC
June 2018

Henoch-Schönlein Purpura Complicated by Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Intern Med 2017 Nov 25;56(22):3041-3045. Epub 2017 Sep 25.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Japan.

Although Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) is known to be accompanied by malignancies, cases with hepatobiliary cancer are extremely rare. A 62-year-old man with palpable purpura rapidly extending to both lower legs was admitted to our hospital. He was undergoing follow-up for cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis B virus infection and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). He had renal dysfunction with hematuria and proteinuria and abdominal pain. Based on the clinical presentation and skin biopsy findings, he was diagnosed with HSP. The administration of steroids resulted in the rapid improvement of the patient's symptoms and he was discharged 12 days after admission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2169/internalmedicine.8885-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5725858PMC
November 2017

Characteristics of patients with sorafenib-treated advanced hepatocellular carcinoma eligible for second-line treatment.

Invest New Drugs 2018 04 11;36(2):332-339. Epub 2017 Sep 11.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan.

Background Regorafenib has been investigated for its efficacy and safety as a second-line treatment in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We assessed the characteristics of patients with HCC treated with sorafenib who might be eligible for second-line treatment in general and regorafenib in particular. Methods Patients with HCC treated with sorafenib were retrospectively analyzed. We defined second-line candidate patients as maintaining Child-Pugh A and ECOG-PS ≤1 at the time of sorafenib failure. We also defined regorafenib candidate patients as follows: 1) continuing sorafenib at the time of radiological progression, 2) maintaining Child-Pugh A and ECOG-PS ≤ 1 at the time of sorafenib failure, and 3) continuing sorafenib 400 mg or more without intolerable adverse events at least 20 days of the last 28 days of treatment. Results Of 185 patients, 130 (70%) and 69 (37%) were candidates for second-line treatment and regorafenib. Child-Pugh score 6 and ECOG-PS 1 at the time of starting sorafenib were significantly lower in both second-line treatment and regorafenib candidate patients. Moreover, hand-foot skin reaction and liver failure during sorafenib treatment were associated with significantly low and high probabilities, respectively, of both Child-Pugh score > 6 and ECOG-PS > 1 at the time of sorafenib failure. Conclusion Regorafenib candidate patients after sorafenib failure are limited, and generally fewer than those who are candidates for second-line treatment. A lower Child-Pugh score and a better ECOG-PS were predictors of eligibility for second-line therapy and regorafenib treatment in sorafenib-treated patients with advanced HCC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-017-0507-3DOI Listing
April 2018

A randomized placebo-controlled trial of prophylactic dexamethasone for transcatheter arterial chemoembolization.

Hepatology 2018 02 23;67(2):575-585. Epub 2017 Dec 23.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluated dexamethasone efficacy at preventing fever, anorexia, and nausea/vomiting, the most frequent adverse events of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Child-Pugh class A/B patients with HCC and no macrovascular invasion/extrahepatic metastases were randomly assigned to either a dexamethasone regimen (day 1, intravenous dexamethasone [20 mg] and granisetron [3 mg] before TACE; days 2 and 3, intravenous dexamethasone [8 mg]) or a control regimen (day 1, intravenous placebo [saline] and granisetron [3 mg]; days 2 and 3, intravenous placebo). The primary endpoint was complete response, defined as the absence of grade ≥1 fever, anorexia, or nausea/vomiting according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (version 4.0) and no use of rescue therapy for 120 hours after TACE. A total of 120 patients between October 2010 and June 2013 were randomly assigned to treatment groups. Overall the complete response rate was greater with the dexamethasone regimen than with the control regimen (47.5%, 95% confidence interval 34.3%-60.9%, versus 10.2%, 95% confidence interval 3.8%-20.8%; P < 0.001). Cumulative incidences of fever, anorexia, and nausea/vomiting were higher in the control regimen group compared with the dexamethasone group (P < 0.001, P < 0.001, and P = 0.095, respectively). The dexamethasone regimen was generally well tolerated by HCC patients including those with well-controlled diabetes mellitus and those with hepatitis B virus infection. Conclusion: The dexamethasone regimen was more effective than the control regimen at preventing TACE-induced fever, anorexia, and nausea/vomiting in patients with HCC. (Hepatology 2018;67:575-585).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.29403DOI Listing
February 2018

Treatment of Real-World HCV Genotype 2-Infected Japanese Patients with Sofosbuvir plus Ribavirin.

Biology (Basel) 2017 May 9;6(2). Epub 2017 May 9.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.

The aim of this study was to characterize the treatment response and tolerability of sofosbuvir plus ribavirin therapies in Japanese patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype (GT)-2. This retrospective study analyzed 114 Japanese HCV GT-2 patients treated for 12 weeks with 400 mg of sofosbuvir plus weight-based ribavirin daily. This treatment led to higher sustained virologic response at 12-weeks post-treatment (SVR12) rates in both treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced patients. The efficacy of this treatment in compensated cirrhotics was the same as that in patients with chronic hepatitis. HCV GT-2a infection and lower estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR) tended to be associated with SVR12. Of 114 patients, 113 completed the combination of sofosbuvir plus ribavirin for 12 weeks. Seven patients without SVR12 did not have HCV NS5B-S282 mutations. The overall SVR12 rate was 90.4% (103 of 114). More effective therapeutic options with less adverse events are desired to achieve higher SVR rates in HCV GT-2 Japanese patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biology6020030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5485477PMC
May 2017

Real-World Experiences with the Combination Treatment of Ledipasvir plus Sofosbuvir for 12 Weeks in HCV Genotype 1-Infected Japanese Patients: Achievement of a Sustained Virological Response in Previous Users of Peginterferon plus Ribavirin with HCV NS3/4A Inhibitors.

Int J Mol Sci 2017 Apr 25;18(5). Epub 2017 Apr 25.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.

The aim of this study was to characterize the treatment response and serious adverse events of ledipasvir plus sofosbuvir therapies in Japanese patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 (GT1). This retrospective study analyzed 240 Japanese HCV GT1 patients treated for 12 weeks with 90 mg of ledipasvir plus 400 mg of sofosbuvir daily. Sustained virological response at 12 weeks post-treatment (SVR12) was achieved in 236 of 240 (98.3%) patients. Among treatment-naïve patients, SVR12 was achieved in 136 of 138 (98.6%) patients, and among treatment-experienced patients, SVR12 was achieved in 100 of 102 (98.0%) patients. In patients previously treated with peginterferon plus ribavirin with various HCV NS3/4A inhibitors, 100% SVR rates (25/25) were achieved. Two relapsers had HCV NS5A resistance-associated variants (RAVs), but no HCV NS5B-S282 was observed after they relapsed. We experienced two patients with cardiac events during treatment. In conclusion, combination of ledipasvir plus sofosbuvir for 12 weeks is a potential therapy for HCV GT1 patients. Caution is needed for HCV NS5A RAVs, which were selected by HCV NS5A inhibitors and cardiac adverse events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms18050906DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5454819PMC
April 2017

Histone lysine methyltransferase G9a is a novel epigenetic target for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Oncotarget 2017 Mar;8(13):21315-21326

Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Histone H3 lysine 9 dimethylation (H3K9me2) is mainly regulated by the histone lysine methyltransferase G9a and is associated with the repression of transcription. However, both the role of G9a and the significance of H3K9me2 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells remain unclear. In this study, we conducted loss-of-function assay of G9a using short-hairpin RNA and pharmacological interference. Knockdown of G9a reduced H3K9me2 levels and impaired both HCC cell growth and sphere formation. However, transforming growth factor β1-induced epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) was not suppressed by G9a knockdown. Combined analyses of chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing and RNA-sequencing led to successful identification of 96 candidate epigenetic targets of G9a. Pharmacological inhibition of G9a by BIX-01294 resulted in both cell growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis in HCC cells. Intraperitoneal administration of BIX-01294 suppressed the growth of xenograft tumors generated by implantation of HCC cells in non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient mice. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed high levels of G9a and H3K9me2 in 36 (66.7%) and 35 (64.8%) primary HCC tissues, respectively. G9a expression levels were significantly positively correlated with H3K9me2 levels in tumor tissues. In contrast, in non-tumor tissues, G9a and H3K9me2 were only observed in biliary epithelial cells and periportal hepatocytes. In conclusion, G9a inhibition impairs anchorage-dependent and -independent cell growth, but not EMT in HCC cells. Our data indicate that pharmacological interference of G9a might be a novel epigenetic approach for the treatment of HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15528DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5400586PMC
March 2017

Successful Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Complicated by Fanconi Anemia.

Case Rep Gastroenterol 2017 Jan-Apr;11(1):29-35. Epub 2017 Jan 27.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

A 42-year-old woman with liver tumors was referred to our hospital. Her condition was complicated by Fanconi anemia, and she had undergone total laryngectomy 8 years ago. On admission, contrast-enhanced computed tomography revealed hypervascular tumors in the right hepatic lobe. Ultrasound-guided tumor biopsy revealed that the tumor comprised moderately differentiated hepatocellular carcinoma. Although the patient exhibited preserved liver function (Child-Pugh A), complete blood count revealed severe pancytopenia. Eventually, the tumor was successfully treated by transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE). Both platelet transfusion and systemic administration of antibiotics were performed. She was discharged 35 days after TAE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000454710DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5301094PMC
January 2017

Impact of Radiofrequency Ablation-Induced Glisson's Capsule-Associated Complications in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

PLoS One 2017 18;12(1):e0170153. Epub 2017 Jan 18.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is commonly used to locally treat hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, when tumors are close to the Glisson's capsule, RFA may induce injury in this region, complicating therapeutic efforts. We investigated the impact of RFA-induced Glisson's capsule-associated complications on liver function and prognosis of HCC patients.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our patient database and found 170 early-stage HCC patients treated via RFA from April 2004 to December 2012. We defined RFA-induced Glisson's capsule-associated complication as lasting hepatic arterioportal (AP) fistula, major intrahepatic bile-duct dilatation (affecting two or more subsegments), or hepatic infarction. We also defined liver failure as initial occurrence of either total bilirubin increase (>3.0 mg/dL), uncontrolled ascites, or encephalopathy.

Results: In our cohort, 15 patients had RFA-induced Glisson's capsule-associated complications (incidence of related complications, with some overlap: lasting AP fistula, n = 9; major intrahepatic bile-duct dilatation, n = 7; and hepatic infarction, n = 2). The cumulative incidence of liver failure before stage progression was significantly higher and the median overall survival (OS) was significantly lower (52.3 months) in HCC patients with Glisson's capsule-associated complications than in those without Glisson's capsule-associated complications (95.0 months). In addition, multivariate analysis demonstrated that Glisson's capsule-associated complication was a significant independent factor associated with OS.

Conclusions: In this study, we have shown that early-stage HCC patients with RFA-induced Glisson's capsule-associated complications may have higher risks in poor prognosis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0170153PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5242538PMC
August 2017

Presence of non-hypervascular hypointense nodules on Gadolinium-ethoxybenzyl-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017 Apr;32(4):908-915

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background And Aims: Gadolinium-ethoxybenzyl-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-EOB-DTPA)-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed before curative therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can distinguish between intrahepatic distant recurrence and hypervascularization. This study aimed to retrospectively evaluate the presence of non-hypervascular hypointense nodules on hepatobiliary phase images from Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI as a risk factor of the intrahepatic distant recurrence of early stage HCC following radiofrequency ablation (RFA).

Methods: A total of 132 patients who underwent preprocedural Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI followed by initial RFA were retrospectively analyzed. Post-RFA intrahepatic distant recurrence, which excluded the hypervascularization of non-hypervascular hypointense nodules detected by preprocedural Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI, was evaluated according to the presence of non-hypervascular hypointense nodules on preprocedural Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI.

Results: Intrahepatic distant recurrence rates following RFA were higher in patients with non-hypervascular hypointense nodules (1-year: 22.5%, 2-year: 52.1%, 5-year: 89.1%) compared with in patients without non-hypervascular hypointense nodules (1-year: 7.0%, 2-year: 28.8%, 5-year: 48.7%). The presence of non-hypervascular hypointense nodules was associated with markedly increased cumulative recurrence rates of both identical and different subsegment intrahepatic distant recurrence, being an independent risk factor for post-RFA identical and different subsegment intrahepatic distant recurrence (identical: HR = 2.365, P = 0.027; different: HR = 3.276, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The presence of non-hypervascular hypointense nodules on hepatobiliary phase images from Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI obtained prior to RFA is an important predictive factor of intrahepatic distant recurrence following RFA of HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jgh.13622DOI Listing
April 2017

Prognostic Significance of Concurrent Hypovascular and Hypervascular Nodules in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

PLoS One 2016 20;11(9):e0163119. Epub 2016 Sep 20.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background: Hypovascular nodules often occur together with hypervascular hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, it remains controversial whether hypovascular nodules associated with hypervascular HCC have any prognostic value. This study evaluated the prognostic impact of hypovascular nodules co-existing with hypervascular HCC as diagnosed by computed tomography during arterial portography (CTAP) and computed tomography during hepatic arteriography (CTHA), which can sensitively capture the dynamic changes in blood flow through the portal vein and hepatic artery in patients with early stage HCC.

Methods: A total of 152 patients with hypervascular HCC (≤ 30 mm, ≤ 3 nodules), who underwent initial local ablation, were analyzed retrospectively. All patients received CTAP and CTHA prior to treatment. Overall survival (OS) was compared among group A (hypervascular HCC only, 107 patients) and group B (hypovascular nodules and hypervascular HCC, 45 patients).

Results: Among all hypovascular nodules, 81% (46 of 57) developed hypervascularization within the follow-up period. The 1- and 2-year hypervascularization rates were 17% and 51%, respectively. OS was significantly longer for group A than for group B (P < 0.001). A Cox proportional-hazards model identified the presence of hypovascular nodules concurrent with hypervascular HCC as an independent poor prognostic factor.

Conclusion: The prognosis of hypervascular HCC patients with hypovascular nodules detected during CTAP and CTHA is poor. Clinical HCC categories seem to be dissimilar between patients with and without hypovascular nodules.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5029907PMC
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0163119PLOS
August 2017

Analysis of Sorafenib Outcome: Focusing on the Clinical Course in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

PLoS One 2016 18;11(8):e0161303. Epub 2016 Aug 18.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background: Treatment outcomes of sorafenib therapy may greatly vary depending not only on tumor spread but also on past clinical processes prior to sorafenib therapy and timing of sorafenib administration in the past clinical course of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We evaluated the efficacy of sorafenib in patients with HCC, taking into account of their past clinical courses.

Methods: Patients with HCC treated with sorafenib as a first-line systemic therapy, whose courses documented from the time of the initial diagnosis, were retrospectively analyzed.

Results: Of the 123 patients receiving sorafenib therapy at an advanced-stage, baseline characteristics differed including the rate of hepatitis C virus, Child-Pugh class, and status of intrahepatic lesions according to stage progression processes. Overall survival (OS) in patients progressed directly from the early-stage (15.3 months) was significantly longer than that in patients diagnosed at the advanced-stage (5.3 months, P = 0.022) and progressed from the intermediate-stages (6.0 months, P = 0.041). Of 105 patients diagnosed at the intermediate-stage on past clinical courses, OS of starting sorafenib therapy before progression to the advanced-stage (67 patients) was significantly longer than for patients starting sorafenib therapy only after progression to the advanced-stage (38 patients) (P = 0.015).

Conclusion: Characteristic differences between past stage progression processes might affect prognosis in advanced-stage HCC patients receiving sorafenib. Switching to sorafenib therapy before progression to the advanced-stage appears more effective than that after progression to the advanced-stage in patients diagnosed in the intermediate-stage on past clinical courses prior to sorafenib administration.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161303PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4990272PMC
July 2017

Sustained Virologic Response at 24 Weeks after the End of Treatment Is a Better Predictor for Treatment Outcome in Real-World HCV-Infected Patients Treated by HCV NS3/4A Protease Inhibitors with Peginterferon plus Ribavirin.

Int J Med Sci 2016 10;13(4):310-5. Epub 2016 Apr 10.

1. Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba, Japan;

Background: Direct-acting antiviral agents against HCV with or without peginterferon plus ribavirin result in higher eradication rates of HCV and shorter treatment duration. We examined which is better for predicting persistent virologic response, the assessment of serum HCV RNA at 12 or 24 weeks after the end of treatment for predicting sustained virologic response (SVR12 or SVR24, respectively) in patients treated by HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitors with peginterferon plus ribavirin.

Methods: In all, 149 Japanese patients infected with HCV genotype 1b treated by peginterferon plus ribavirin with telaprevir or simeprevir were retrospectively analyzed: 59 and 90 patients were treated with telaprevir- and simeprevir-including regimens, respectively. HCV RNA was measured by TaqMan HCV Test, version 2.0, real-time PCR assay. SVR12 or SVR24, respectively, was defined as HCV RNA negativity at 12 or 24 weeks after ending treatment.

Results: Total SVR rates were 78.0% and 66.7% in the telaprevir and simeprevir groups, respectively. In the telaprevir group, all 46 patients with SVR12 finally achieved SVR24. In the simeprevir group, 60 (93.8%) of the total 64 patients with SVR12 achieved SVR24, with the other 4 patients all being previous-treatment relapsers.

Conclusions: SVR12 was suitable for predicting persistent virologic response in almost all cases. In simeprevir-including regimens, SVR12 could not always predict persistent virologic response. Clinicians should use SVR24 for predicting treatment outcome in the use of HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitors with peginterferon plus ribavirin for any group of real-world patients chronically infected with HCV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/ijms.14953DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4829545PMC
December 2016

Prevention of hepatitis B virus-associated liver diseases by antiviral therapy.

Hepatol Int 2016 Jul 29;10(4):574-93. Epub 2016 Mar 29.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major cause of acute and chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, particularly in Asia-Pacific countries. The major complications in HBV carriers are hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver failure and esophageal varices following the progression to cirrhosis, while some develop HCC without cirrhosis. The progression to liver fibrosis and these other complications could be prevented by treatment with nucleos(t)ide analogues (NUCs); however, NUCs must be continuously administered for a long time. Peginterferon could lead to HBV surface antigen loss. It is difficult to use peginterferon in HBV-infected patients with decompensated cirrhosis. Acute liver failure due to HBV infection and acute exacerbation of chronic hepatitis B could be treated by NUCs. Universal vaccination programs against HBV could prevent new HBV infections globally. Here, we review the currently available treatments for HBV infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12072-016-9720-yDOI Listing
July 2016

Utility of Prediction Scores for Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis B Treated with Nucleos(t)ide Analogues.

Oncology 2016 3;90(4):199-208. Epub 2016 Mar 3.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Objective: The utility of risk scores to predict the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients treated with nucleos(t)ide analogue (NA) remains to be elucidated.

Methods: CU-HCC (The Chinese University of Hong Kong-HCC) and GAG-HCC (Guide with Age, Gender, HBV DNA, Core promoter mutations and Cirrhosis) scores of 225 Japanese patients treated with NAs for at least 2 years were calculated before and 2 years after the NA treatment. According to the cutoff values, the patients were categorized into high-score or low-score groups.

Results: Sixteen of 225 patients developed HCC. Patients with a high score before the NA treatment showed a significantly higher HCC incidence than those with a low score using both score models (p < 0.001). Time-dependent receiver operating characteristic analyses based on scores before and 2 years after the NA treatment showed that both models exhibited moderate accuracy in predicting HCC development. The HCC incidence was significantly lower in the patients whose scores decreased below the cutoff values in response to the NA treatment than in those whose scores remained high using both models (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: The predictive performance of the CU-HCC and GAG-HCC scores in the CHB patients treated with NAs is comparable to that in the NA-naive patients. The patients with sustained high scores after the NA treatment showed a higher incidence of HCC development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000444392DOI Listing
August 2016

Post-progression survival in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma resistant to sorafenib.

Invest New Drugs 2016 Apr 14;34(2):255-60. Epub 2016 Jan 14.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan.

Background: Since the approval of sorafenib, no other agent has been proven to show survival benefits in clinical trials involving patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) resistant to sorafenib. Prognostic factors for survival after tumor progression in sorafenib-treated patients are critical for designing second-line trials.

Methods: To determine the factors affecting the post-progression survival (PPS) after sorafenib treatment, additional analyses were conducted using fixed data obtained from our previous prospective study. Data on patients with advanced HCC treated with sorafenib were analyzed in view of patient characteristics at the time of tumor progression and the progression pattern (intra-/extrahepatic growth or emergence of new intra-/extrahepatic lesions).

Results: Of the 89 enrolled patients, 70 were diagnosed with disease progression according to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1. Multivariate Cox's regression analysis revealed that Child-Pugh scores of ≥7, macrovascular invasion (MVI), and alpha-fetoprotein of >400 ng/mL were independent predictors of poor PPS. Although both extrahepatic metastasis (EHM) and MVI were characteristics of advanced HCC, EHM was not determined as a prognostic factor. Additionally, the emergence of new extrahepatic lesions also served as an independent indicator of a poor prognosis. The PPS of the patients was well stratified according to the index based on the sum of these prognostic factors, ranging from 0 to 4.

Conclusions: Child-Pugh score of ≥7, AFP of >400 ng/mL, MVI, and new extrahepatic lesions at the time of progression may be utilized to assess the prognosis and taken into consideration when designing second-line trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-016-0323-1DOI Listing
April 2016

Liver function assessment according to the Albumin-Bilirubin (ALBI) grade in sorafenib-treated patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

Invest New Drugs 2015 Dec 14;33(6):1257-62. Epub 2015 Oct 14.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan.

Background: The Albumin-Bilirubin (ALBI) grade has been proposed as a new, simple, and objective method of assessing liver function. However, there is lack of data in sorafenib-treated patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Methods: We evaluated the correlations between the ALBI grade and Child-Pugh score, adverse events, and survival in 89 patients with advanced HCC who were prospectively treated with sorafenib.

Results: Majority of patients with ALBI grade 1 (14/15 patients, 93%) had a Child-Pugh score of 5. Patients with ALBI grade 2 had a wide range of liver function according to the Child-Pugh scores, with scores of 5, 6, 7, and ≥ 8. We divided ALBI grade 2 patients into ALBI grade 2A and 2B groups according to the median ALBI score among patients with ALBI grade 2. Although no significant difference was observed, the incidence of liver dysfunction in sorafenib-treated patients with ALBI grades 1, 2A, and 2B was 7%, 19%, and 35%, respectively. Overall survival in the ALBI grade 2B group was significantly shorter than that in the ALBI grade 1 and 2A groups. Thus, ALBI grade 2B was an independent predictor of poor prognosis in addition to elevated serum aspartate aminotransferase levels, increased serum alpha-fetoprotein level, and macrovascular invasion.

Conclusion: Sorafenib may be indicated for all patients with advanced HCC and ALBI grade 1 and for some with ALBI grade 2. The subdivision of patients with ALBI grade 2 increases the utility of ALBI in identifying patients indicated for sorafenib therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-015-0292-9DOI Listing
December 2015

Intensity-Based Assessment of Microbubble-Enhanced Ultrasonography: Phase-Related Diagnostic Ability for Cellular Differentiation of Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Ultrasound Med Biol 2015 Dec 12;41(12):3079-87. Epub 2015 Sep 12.

Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, Chuou-ku, Chiba, Japan.

This prospective study aimed to elucidate the effect of phase-related quantitative parameters of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) with perflubutane microbubble agent to assess the cellular differentiation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Intensity was analyzed in 94 lesions (19.4 ± 4.9 mm, 86 patients), 47 well-differentiated HCCs (wHCCs) and 47 moderately-differentiated HCCs (mHCCs): I(e) (early phase) = I(te) (tumor) - I(le) (liver), I(p) (post-vascular phase) = I(tp) (tumor) - I(lp) (liver), I(ep) = I(e) - I(p). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve with the best cutoff value (I(e), 13.2, I(p), -4.5, I(ep), 21.3) for discriminating between wHCC and mHCC was 0.6922 for Ie, 0.7680 for Ip and 0.7925 for Iep, which indicated a significantly greater ability to differentiate between wHCC and mHCC compared with visual/qualitative assessment (early phase, 0.6170, p = 0.04; post-vascular phase, 0.6702, p = 0.01; both phases, 0.7021, p = 0.04). In conclusion, I(ep) was found to have the highest diagnostic ability, suggesting it is a promising parameter for the cellular differentiation of HCCs with CEUS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2015.07.033DOI Listing
December 2015