Publications by authors named "Soichiro Kiyono"

52 Publications

Effect of Atezolizumab plus Bevacizumab in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Harboring Mutation in Early Clinical Experience.

J Cancer 2022 16;13(8):2656-2661. Epub 2022 May 16.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Nihon University School of Medicine, 30-1 Oyaguchi-Kamicho, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8610, Japan.

Atezolizumab plus bevacizumab (ATZ/BV) treatment is a combined immunotherapy consisting of immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor monoclonal antibody, which has brought a major paradigm shift in the treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Gain-of-function mutation of contributes to resistance of ICI monotherapy through the framework of non-T-cell-inflamed tumor microenvironment. However, whether mutation renders resistance to ATZ/BV similar to ICI monotherapy remains to be elucidated. In this study, a liquid biopsy sample in plasma of 33 patients with HCC treated with ATZ/BV was subjected to droplet digital PCR for detecting hotspot mutations at the exon 3 of locus. A total of eight patients (24.2%) exhibited at least one mutation. The objective response rate (ORR) in patients with wild-type (WT) and mutant (MT) was 8.0% and 12.5%, respectively, and the disease control rate (DCR) was 68.0% and 87.5%, respectively. No significant difference in both ORR and DCR has been observed between the two groups. The median progression-free survival in patients with WT and MT was 6.6 and 7.6 months, respectively (not statistically significant). Similarly, no significant difference in overall survival has been observed between patients with WT and MT (13.6 vs. 12.3 months). In conclusion, the treatment effect of ATZ/BV in patients with HCC with MT was comparable to those patients with WT . These results implicate that BV added to ATZ might improve immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment caused by mutation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/jca.71494DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9174847PMC
May 2022

Liver biopsy technique in the era of genomic cancer therapies: a single-center retrospective analysis.

Int J Clin Oncol 2022 Jun 15. Epub 2022 Jun 15.

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

Background: With the evolution of personalized medicine in the field of oncology, which includes optimal treatment selection using next-generation sequencing-based companion diagnostic systems and tumor-agnostic treatments according to common biomarkers, a liver tumor biopsy technique that can obtain a sufficient specimen volume must be established. The current study aimed to evaluate the safety and availability of a liver tumor biopsy technique with multiple puncture sites made using a coaxial introducer needle and embolization with gelatin sponge particles.

Methods: Patients with primary or metastatic liver cancer who underwent liver tumor biopsies with puncture tract embolization using gelatin sponge (Spongel) from October 2019 to September 2020 were included in the study. The complication and diagnostic rates were evaluated, and whether the specimen volume was sufficient for Foundation CDx was investigated.

Results: In total, 96 patients were enrolled in this analysis. The median total number of puncture times per patient was 3 (range 1-8). The pathological diagnostic rate was 79.2%. Using the FoundationOne CDx, specimens with a sufficient volume required for genomic medicine were collected in 84.9% of patients. The incidence rate of bleeding was 4.2% (n = 4), and only one patient presented with major bleeding requiring transfusion.

Conclusions: Liver biopsy with puncture tract embolization using a gelatin sponge may be safe and effective for collecting specimens with a volume sufficient for modern cancer treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10147-022-02195-9DOI Listing
June 2022

A diet-induced murine model for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with obesity and insulin resistance that rapidly develops steatohepatitis and fibrosis.

Lab Invest 2022 May 28. Epub 2022 May 28.

Department of Gastroenterology, Chiba University, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba, 260-8677, Japan.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Patients with NAFLD often suffer steatohepatitis, which can progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The presence of visceral obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a major risk factor and potential therapeutic target for NAFLD. The establishment of animal models with these metabolic comorbidities and with the rapid progression of the disease is needed for developing treatments for NAFLD but remains to be archived. In the present study, KK-A mice, widely used as T2DM models, or C57BL6 mice were fed a high-fat, high-fructose, and high-cholesterol diet supplemented with cholic acid (NAFLD diet). The KK-A mice fed a NAFLD diet exhibited remarkable obesity and insulin resistance. A prominent accumulation of triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver was observed at 4 weeks. These mice developed steatohepatitis at 4 weeks and fibrosis at 12 weeks. In contrast, C57BL6 mice fed a NAFLD diet remained lean, although they still developed steatohepatitis and fibrosis. In summary, we established a diet-induced murine NAFLD model with the rapid development of steatohepatitis and fibrosis, bearing obesity and insulin resistance. This model could be useful as preclinical models for drug development of NAFLD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41374-022-00807-6DOI Listing
May 2022

Durvalumab with or without tremelimumab combined with particle therapy for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma with macrovascular invasion: protocol for the DEPARTURE phase Ib trial.

BMJ Open 2022 04 8;12(4):e059779. Epub 2022 Apr 8.

National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, Chiba, Japan.

Introduction: Advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with macrovascular invasion (MVI) has the worst prognosis among all phenotypes. This trial aims to evaluate whether treatment with durvalumab, alone or in combination with tremelimumab, plus particle therapy is a safe and synergistically effective treatment in patients with advanced HCC and MVI.

Methods And Analysis: This phase Ib, multicentre (two sites in Japan), open-label, single-arm, investigator-initiated clinical trial will assess durvalumab monotherapy in combination with particle therapy (cohort A) and that of durvalumab plus tremelimumab in combination with particle therapy (cohort B) for patients with advanced HCC with MVI. Cohort A will receive 1500 mg durvalumab every 4 weeks. Cohort B will receive 1500 mg durvalumab every 4 weeks in principle and 300 mg tremelimumab only on day 1 of the first cycle. Carbon-ion radiotherapy will be administered after day 8 of the first cycle. The primary endpoints are rates of any and severe adverse events, including dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs); secondary endpoints are overall survival, 6-month survival, objective response, 6-month progression-free survival and time to progression. Patients are initially enrolled into cohort A. If cohort A treatment is confirmed to be tolerated (ie, no DLT in three patients or one DLT in six patients), the trial proceeds to enrol more patients into cohort B. Similarly, if cohort B treatment is confirmed to be tolerated (ie, no DLT in three patients or one DLT in six patients), a total of 15 patients will be enrolled into cohort B.

Ethics And Dissemination: This study was approved by the ethics committees of the two participating institutions (Chiba University Hospital and National Institutes for Quantum (approval number: 2020040) and Radiological Science and Technology, QST Hospital (approval number: C20-001)). Participants will be required to provide written informed consent. Trial results will be reported in a peer-reviewed journal publication.

Trial Registration Number: jRCT2031210046.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059779DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8995959PMC
April 2022

Evolution of Survival Impact of Molecular Target Agents in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Liver Cancer 2022 Jan 6;11(1):48-60. Epub 2021 Dec 6.

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

Background And Aims: The prognosis of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is expected to improve as multiple molecular target agents (MTAs) are now available. However, the impact of the availability of sequential MTAs has not been fully verified yet.

Approach And Results: We retrospectively collected the data on the whole clinical course of 877 patients who received any MTAs as first-line systemic therapy for advanced HCC between June 2009 and March 2019. The study population was divided into 3 groups according to the date of first-line MTA administration (period 1: 2009-2012, = 267; period 2: 2013-2016, = 352; period 3: 2017-2019, = 258). Then, we compared the number of MTAs used, overall survival (OS), and MTA treatment duration among the 3 groups. Analysis was also performed separately for advanced-stage and nonadvanced-stage HCC. The proportion of patients who received multiple MTAs was remarkably increased over time (1.1%, 10.2%, and 42.6% in periods 1, 2, and 3, respectively, < 0.001). The median OS times were prolonged to 10.4, 11.3, and 15.2 months in periods 1, 2, and 3, respectively ( = 0.016). Similarly, the MTA treatment durations were extended (2.7, 3.2, and 6.6 months in periods 1, 2, and 3, respectively; < 0.001). We confirmed that the correlation between OS and MTA treatment duration was strengthened (period 1: 0.395, period 2: 0.505, and period 3: 0.667). All these trends were pronounced in the patients with advanced-stage HCC but limited in the patients with nonadvanced-stage HCC.

Conclusions: The availability of multiple MTAs had steadily improved the prognosis of patients with advanced HCC patients, particularly advanced-stage HCC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000519868DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8820147PMC
January 2022

Impact of acute decompensation on the prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

PLoS One 2022 27;17(1):e0261619. Epub 2022 Jan 27.

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

Background/aims: Organ failure in patients with acute decompensation (AD) is a defining characteristic of acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). However, the clinical features of AD during the long-term clinical course of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are still poorly understood. This study aimed to clarify features and impact of AD/ACLF on the prognosis of patients after treatment for HCC.

Methods: This retrospective study enrolled 556 consecutive patients who were initially diagnosed with HCC, and analyses were conducted taking into account HCC treatment type, HCC stage, and presence or absence of cirrhosis.

Results: During follow-up, 299 patients with AD were hospitalized. AD occurrence is closely related to prognosis, regardless of the presence or absence of cirrhosis and HCC stage, and early-onset AD (within 90 days after HCC treatment) has negative impact on prognosis. In the intermediate-advanced-stage group, surgical resection had a positive impact on AD incidence post-treatment. After systemic therapy for HCC, renal impairment was the predictive factors for AD development. The 28/90-day mortality rate was higher among 41 cases (13.7%) with AD who exhibited ACLF as compared with cases without ACLF. AD without cirrhosis had similar ACLF incidence and short-term mortality, compared to AD with cirrhosis. The prognostic model using a decision-tree-based approach, which includes ACLF, bilirubin level, HCC progression, and MELD score is useful for predicting 90- or 28-day mortality after AD diagnosis.

Conclusions: Careful management of patients with HCC who are hospitalized with AD is necessary, considering ACLF, HCC progression, and liver function.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0261619PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8794202PMC
February 2022

Exploring microsatellite instability in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma and its tumor microenvironment.

JGH Open 2021 Nov 1;5(11):1266-1274. Epub 2021 Oct 1.

Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine Chiba University Chiba Japan.

Background And Aim: Immune checkpoint inhibitors and their combination with other agents have recently been available in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Hence, a thorough understanding of the tumor microenvironment based on tumor samples is yet to be achieved. This study aimed to explore the tumor microenvironment in advanced HCC in terms of microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) by using tumor samples from advanced HCC patients eligible for systemic therapy.

Methods: MSI-H was assessed by polymerase chain reaction, and the expression of mismatch repair proteins, PD-L1, CD8, VEGF, and HLA-class1 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Whole-exome sequencing was performed for MSI-H tumor samples.

Results: Of 50 patients, one (2.0%) was confirmed with MSI-H. In the MSI-H advanced HCC tumor, a high tumor mutation burden, infiltration of CD8 lymphocytes, and low expression of VEGF were identified. Although PD-L1 expression was negative, there was shrinkage of tumor following pembrolizumab. However, another tumor nonresponsive to pembrolizumab was present simultaneously. Checking the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database, we found a similar case to this patient. The TCGA case had unique gene features of miR-21 and miR-155 overexpression and hypermethylation of the gene.

Conclusion: We identified a very small number of MSI-H cases in HCC using one tumor biopsy sample for each patient with advanced HCC. In addition, epigenetic aberrations possibly lead to MSI-H in HCC patients. Since different HCC clones might coexist in the liver, sampling from multiple tumors should be considered to clarify the true proportion of MSI-H in HCC and to analyze tumor microenvironments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgh3.12660DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8593775PMC
November 2021

Changes in therapeutic options for hepatocellular carcinoma in Asia.

Liver Int 2021 Nov 15. Epub 2021 Nov 15.

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

The incidence rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is expected to increase, with most cases occurring in Asia. In some parts of Asia, the occurrence of HCC developing from metabolic-related liver disease has markedly increased in recent years, whereas the occurrence of HCC developing from viral-hepatitis-related liver disease has decreased. Advancements in the treatment of HCC over the past few decades has been remarkable, with most treatment strategies to remove or control liver tumours (hepatic resection, local ablation, radiation therapy, transarterial chemoembolisation, hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy) primarily developing in Asia. In addition, recent progress in systemic therapies has prolonged the prognosis of advanced HCC. Nowadays, six regimens of systemic therapies have become available in most countries, according to phase III trials (atezolizumab plus bevacizumab, sorafenib, lenvatinib, regorafenib, cabozantinib and ramucirumab). In a global randomised phase III trial (IMbrave 150 trial), the most effective of the latest drug designs was newly emerged combination immunotherapy (atezolizumab plus bevacizumab), which has shown significantly prolonged overall survival compared with sorafenib, which was the first-line systemic therapy for more than a decade. Now, the treatment dynamics for HCC are undergoing a major transition as a result of two important changes: the replacement of viral-related HCC by metabolic-related HCC and the emergence of combination immune therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.15101DOI Listing
November 2021

EZH1/2 inhibition augments the anti-tumor effects of sorafenib in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Sci Rep 2021 11 1;11(1):21396. Epub 2021 Nov 1.

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

Both EZH2 and its homolog EZH1 function as histone H3 Lysine 27 (H3K27) methyltransferases and repress the transcription of target genes. Dysregulation of H3K27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) plays an important role in the development and progression of cancers such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study investigated the relationship between the expression of EZH1/2 and the level of H3K27me3 in HCC. Additionally, the role of EZH1/2 in cell growth, tumorigenicity, and resistance to sorafenib were also analyzed. Both the lentiviral knockdown and the pharmacological inhibition of EZH1/2 (UNC1999) diminished the level of H3K27me3 and suppressed cell growth in liver cancer cells, compared with EZH1 or EZH2 single knockdown. Although a significant association was observed between EZH2 expression and H3K27me3 levels in HCC samples, overexpression of EZH1 appeared to contribute to enhanced H3K27me3 levels in some EZH2H3K27me3 cases. Akt suppression following sorafenib treatment resulted in an increase of the H3K27me3 levels through a decrease in EZH2 phosphorylation at serine 21. The combined use of sorafenib and UNC1999 exhibited synergistic antitumor effects in vitro and in vivo. Combination treatment canceled the sorafenib-induced enhancement in H3K27me3 levels, indicating that activation of EZH2 function is one of the mechanisms of sorafenib-resistance in HCC. In conclusion, sorafenib plus EZH1/2 inhibitors may comprise a novel therapeutic approach in HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-00889-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8560765PMC
November 2021

Posttreatment after Lenvatinib in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Liver Cancer 2021 Sep 20;10(5):473-484. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

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

Background: There is no standard posttreatment for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in whom lenvatinib therapy has failed. This study aimed to investigate rates of migration to posttreatment after lenvatinib and to explore candidates for second-line agents in the patients with failed lenvatinib therapy.

Methods: We retrospectively collected data on patients with advanced HCC who received lenvatinib as the first-line agent in 7 institutions.

Results: Overall survival and progression-free survival (PFS) of 178 patients who received lenvatinib as the first-line agent were 13.3 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.5-15.2) and 6.7 months (95% CI, 5.6-7.8), respectively. Sixty-nine of 151 patients (45.7%) who discontinued lenvatinib moved on to posttreatment. The migration rates from lenvatinib to the second-line agent and from the second-line agent to the third-line agent were 41.7 and 44.4%, respectively. Based on multivariate analysis, response to lenvatinib (complete or partial response according to modified RECIST) and discontinuation of lenvatinib due to radiological progression, as well as male were associated with a significantly higher probability of migration to posttreatment after lenvatinib. On the other hand, alpha-fetoprotein levels of 400 ng/mL or higher was correlated with a significantly lower probability of migration to posttreatment after lenvatinib. Of 63 patients who received second-line systemic therapy, 53 (84.2%) were administered sorafenib. PFS, objective response rate (ORR), and disease control rate (DCR) for sorafenib treatment were 1.8 months (95% CI, 0.6-3.0), 1.8%, and 20.8%, respectively. According to the Cox regression hazard model, Child-Pugh class B significantly contributed to shorter PFS. PFS, ORR, and DCR of 22 patients who received regorafenib after lenvatinib in any lines were 3.2 months (range, 1.5-4.9 months), 13.6%, and 36.3%, respectively. Similarly, PFS, ORR, and DCR of 17 patients who received regorafenib after lenvatinib in the third-line (after sorafenib) were 3.8 months (range, 1.1-6.5 months), 17.6%, and 41.2%, respectively.

Conclusion: Sorafenib may not be a candidate for use as a posttreatment agent after lenvatinib, according to the results of the present study. Regorafenib has the potential to become an appropriate posttreatment agent after lenvatinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000515552DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8527907PMC
September 2021

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

Percutaneous Two-Dimensional Shear Wave Elastography for Diagnosis of Pancreatic Tumor.

Diagnostics (Basel) 2021 Mar 11;11(3). Epub 2021 Mar 11.

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

Background: To investigate the efficacy of two-dimensional shear wave elastography (2D-SWE) for the diagnosis of pancreatic mass lesions.

Methods: This ethics committee-approved cross-sectional study included 52 patients with histologically-proven pancreatic tumors (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), 36; tumor-forming pancreatitis (TFP), 15; neuroendocrine tumor, 1) and 33 control subjects. The 2D-SWE was performed for the tumor/non-tumor tissues, and SWE-mapping patterns and propagation quality were assessed.

Results: Three mapping patterns were detected based on the size and distribution of the coloring areas. Pattern A (whole coloring) was detected in all non-tumor tissues and TFP, whereas pattern C (multiple small coloring spots) was detected in PDAC only. Pattern B (partial coloring with smaller spots) was detected in other lesions. The specificity and positive predictive value of pattern A for non-PDAC and those of pattern C for PDAC were 100%. The SWE value was higher in tumor lesions than in the non-tumor tissues (38.1 vs. 9.8 kPa; < 0.001) in patients with PDAC. The SWE value in the non-tumor lesion was higher in patients with PDAC than in control (9.8 vs. 7.5 kPa; < 0.001).

Conclusions: 2D-SWE may play a role as a novel diagnostic tool for PDAC to detect a specific mapping pattern with quantitative assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11030498DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001884PMC
March 2021

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

Sci Rep 2021 03 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

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

Long-term administration of Tolvaptan to patients with decompensated cirrhosis.

Int J Med Sci 2020 15;17(7):874-880. Epub 2020 Mar 15.

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

: Tolvaptan, an oral vasopressin-2 antagonist, sometimes improves hepatic edema including ascites in patients with decompensated cirrhosis. In this study, we examined the effectiveness and survival advantage in patients with the long-term administration of tolvaptan. : A total of 115 patients with refractory ascites who were treated with tolvaptan were retrospectively analyzed based on their clinical records. Patients with a decrease in body weight of ≥1.5 kg from the baseline on day 7 were determined as responders. Re-exacerbation was defined as a return to the baseline BW, dose escalation of conventional diuretics, or abdominal drainage. : Of the 115 patients, 84 were included in this analysis. Response to tolvaptan treatment was observed in 55 out of the 84 patients (65.5%), with a mean weight reduction of 2.52 kg. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that body mass index (≥24) and urinary specific gravity (≥1.018) were significant predictors of the response to tolvaptan. However, cumulative re-exacerbation rates in responders at 6 and 12 months were 42.4 and 60.1%, respectively. Child-Pugh (classification C), HCC complication, and serum sodium levels (≥133 mEq/L) were determined as independent prognostic factors impacting overall survival (OS). Although there were no significant differences in OS between tolvaptan responders and non-responders, the responders without re-exacerbation within 3 months showed significantly longer OS than those with re-exacerbation within 3 months. : A persistent therapeutic response, but not early response to tolvaptan, was associated with favorable survival of decompensated cirrhotic patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/ijms.41454DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7163362PMC
February 2021

Free fatty acid-based low-impedance liver image: a characteristic appearance in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Eur Radiol Exp 2020 01 23;4(1). Epub 2020 Jan 23.

Department of Gastroenterology, Juntendo University, 2-1-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8421, Japan.

Background: To examine in vitro acoustic property of nonalcoholic fatty disease in mouse and human liver to identify nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Methods: The acoustic impedance (× 10 kg/m/s) was measured in 35 free fatty acids (FFAs, 500 mmol/L) and histologically-diagnosed liver samples of twelve mice (four control, four simple steatosis [SS], and four NASH) and eight humans (two control, three SS, and three NASH), using 80-MHz acoustic microscopy. The sum of percentage (SP) composition of FFAs (SP-FFAs) was also assessed.

Results: Median impedance of all FFAs was 0.7 (5 FFAs with impedance 0.7); 17 FFAs with impedance < 0.7 were classified as low-impedance group; and, 13 FFAs with impedance > 0.7 were classified as high-impedance group. The median impedance of the mouse liver decreased from control (1.715), to SS (1.68), to NASH (1.635) (control versus NASH, p = 0.039 without significant differences for the other comparisons, p ≥ 0.1). Similarly, the median impedance of human liver showed decreased from control (1.825), to SS (1.788), to NASH (1.76) (control versus SS, p = 0.023; control versus NASH, p = 0.003; SS versus NASH, p = 0.050). The ratio of SP-FFAs between the low-impedance and high-impedance groups showed an increase in both mice and humans, with significant differences in mice (control versus SS, p < 0.001; control versus NASH, p < 0.001; SS versus NASH, p = 0.003), without significant differences in humans (p ≥ 0.671).

Conclusion: Lower acoustic impedance based on the intrahepatic composition of FFAs may be characteristic of NASH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s41747-019-0137-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6977798PMC
January 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

Incidence and hemodynamic feature of risky esophageal varices with lower hepatic venous pressure gradient.

Int J Med Sci 2019 9;16(12):1614-1620. Epub 2019 Nov 9.

Department of Gastroenterology, Juntendo University, 2-1-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8421, Japan.

To examine the incidence of cirrhosis patients with high-risk esophageal varices (EV) who show hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) < 10 mmHg and to identify their hemodynamic features. This prospective study consisted of 110 cirrhosis patients with EV, all with the candidate for primary or secondary prophylaxis. Sixty-one patients had red sign, and 49 patients were bleeders. All patients underwent both Doppler ultrasound and HVPG measurement. There were 18 patients (16.4%) with HVPG < 10 mmHg. The presence of venous-venous communication (VVC) was more frequent in patients with HVPG < 10 mmHg (10/18) than in those with HVPG ≥ 10 mmHg (19/92; p = 0.0021). The flow volume in the left gastric vein (LGV) and the incidence of red sign were higher in the former (251.9 ± 150.6 mL/min; 16/18) than in the latter (181 ± 100.5 mL/min, p = 0.02; 45/92; p = 0.0018). The patients with red sign had lower HVPG (13.3 ± 4.5) but advanced LGV hemodynamics (velocity 13.2 ± 3.8 cm/s; flow volume 217.5 ± 126.6 mL/min), whereas those without red sign had higher HVPG (16.2 ± 4.6, p = 0.001) but poorer LGV hemodynamics (10.9 ± 2.3, p = 0.002; 160.1 ± 83.1, p = 0.02). Patients with high-risk EV with HVPG < 10 mmHg showed 16.4% incidence. Although low HVPG may be underestimated by the presence of VVC, the increased LGV hemodynamics compensates for the severity of portal hypertension, which may contribute to the development of red sign.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/ijms.37040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6909812PMC
April 2020

Serum fibroblast growth factor 19 serves as a potential novel biomarker for hepatocellular carcinoma.

BMC Cancer 2019 Nov 12;19(1):1088. Epub 2019 Nov 12.

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

Background: Abnormal autocrine fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19) production has been observed in several types of cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we investigated the potential of serum FGF19 as a novel tumor marker of HCC based on a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Methods: The serum FGF19 levels of 304 patients with HCC was measured by ELISA. The serum levels of existing markers, including alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin (DCP) were determined by chemiluminescence enzyme immunoassay. Both diagnostic value of FGF19 and its changes after curative ablation therapy was further examined.

Results: The median FGF19 levels in controls, chronic liver disease patients, and primary HCC patients, were 78.8 pg/mL, 100.1 pg/mL, and 214.5 pg/mL, respectively. The subsequent receiver operating characteristic curves (ROC) successfully determined an optimal cut-off value of 200.0 pg/mL. The area under the ROC curve (AUC) of FGF19 for HCC detection was comparable to those of AFP and DCP. Of importance, FGF19 showed higher sensitivity for the detection of small HCC (solitary cancer with diameter < 20 mm) than those of existing markers. In addition, 43 out of 79 cases (54.4%) with normal AFP and DCP (so-called "double negative HCC") exhibited serum FGF19 level ≥ 200 pg/mL. In 45 HCC patients treated with curative ablation therapy, serum FGF19 levels changed from 257.4 pg/mL to 112.0 pg/mL after the treatment.

Conclusion: Our findings reveal that FGF19 can be a potential novel biomarker for HCC. Although FGF19 is not necessarily a substitute for existing markers, it may help improve the prognosis in HCC patients owing to its resourceful use in various aspects of HCC management and treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-019-6322-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6849282PMC
November 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

Long-Term Prognosis of Patients with Obscure Gastrointestinal Bleeding: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

Digestion 2019 11;100(1):37-44. Epub 2019 Jan 11.

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

Aims: We evaluated the long-term prognosis of patients with obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (OGIB) who underwent capsule endoscopy (CE).

Methods: In our hospital, 429 patients underwent CE between November 2007 and March 2012. Among them, 259 patients underwent CE as the first examination for OGIB and were then followed at 77 clinics and hospitals. The clinical characteristics were investigated, including age, gender, overt/occult bleeding, the use of antithrombotic drugs and NSAIDs, complications (liver cirrhosis and hemodialysis), and CE. We asked the medical institutions for their survival data as of August 2017 (> 5 years after CE).

Results: The prognoses of 240 patients (92.6%) were analyzed. The average follow-up period was 55.7 (1-115) months. During the follow-up period, 57 patients (23.8%) died and the survival rates were 90.5% at 1 year, 81.7% at 3 years, and 74.7% at 5 years. Age 65 years or older and liver cirrhosis were predictive factors for a poor prognosis. Rebleeding occurred in 42 patients (17.9%) and small bowel cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumor were found at 12 and 21 months after CE, respectively.

Conclusions: Patients with OGIB showed a poor prognosis, especially those who were elderly or who had liver cirrhosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000493854DOI Listing
December 2019

Left gastric vein-based noninvasive test for esophageal varices: a same-day comparison of portal hemodynamic assessment with endoscopic appearance.

Clin Transl Gastroenterol 2018 05 25;9(5):154. Epub 2018 May 25.

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

Objective: To examine the effect of hemodynamic assessment of the left gastric vein (LGV) as a noninvasive test to diagnose esophageal varices (EV) in cirrhosis patients.

Methods: This cross-sectional study consisted of 229 cirrhosis patients (62.7 ± 11.8 years; Child-Pugh score 5-14). One hundred fifty-four patients had EV (67.2%; small, 53; medium, 71; large, 30). All patients underwent a blood test and Doppler ultrasound followed by upper gastrointestinal endoscopy on the same day. The diagnostic ability for EV was compared between LGV-related findings and the platelet count/spleen diameter ratio (Plt/Spl).

Results: The detectability of the LGV was higher in patients with EV (129/144, 89.6%) than in those without (35/75, 46.7%; p < 0.0001), and was higher in those with large EV (30/30, 100%) than in those without (134/199, 67.3%; p = 0.0002). The positive detection of the LGV showed 100% sensitivity and negative predictive value (NPV) to identify large EV in the whole cohort and compensated group (n = 127). The best cutoff value in the LGV diameter was 5.35 mm to identify large EV, showing 0.753 area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) with 90% sensitivity and 96.5% NPV. The Plt/Spl showed 62.1% sensitivity and 87.1% NPV, and the best cutoff value was 442.9 to identify large EV with 0.658 AUROC, which was comparable to LGV-based assessment (p = 0.162).

Conclusions: This same-day comparison study demonstrated the value of LGV-based noninvasive test to identify large EV with high sensitivity and NPV in cirrhosis patients at a lower cost.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41424-018-0021-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968022PMC
May 2018

Successful retreatment with grazoprevir and elbasvir for patients infected with hepatitis C virus genotype 1b, who discontinued prior treatment with NS5A inhibitor-including regimens due to adverse events.

Oncotarget 2018 Mar 23;9(22):16263-16270. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

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

Background: Sustained virologic response (SVR) by interferon and interferon-free treatment can results in the reduction of advanced liver fibrosis and the occurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Recent interferon-free treatment for HCV shortens the duration of treatment and leads to higher SVR rates, without any serious adverse events. However, it is important to retreat patients who have had treatment-failure with HCV non-structural protein 5A (NS5A) inhibitor-including regimens. Combination of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir only leads to approximately 100% SVR rates in HCV genotype (GT1b), NS5A inhibitor-naïve patients in Japan. This combination is not an indication for severe renal disease or heart disease, and these patients should be treated or retreated with a different regimen.

Case Summary: Retreatment with HCV non-structural protein 3/4A inhibitor, grazoprevir, and HCV NS5A inhibitor, elbasvir, successfully eradicated HCV RNA in three patients with HCV genotype 1b infection who discontinued prior interferon-free treatments including HCV NS5A inhibitors due to adverse events within 2 weeks.

Conclusion: Retreatment with the 12-week combination regimen of grazoprevir and elbasvir is effective for HCV GT1b patients who discontinue the HCV NS5A inhibitor-including regimens within 2 weeks. The treatment response may be related to the short duration of initial treatment, which did not produce treatment-emergent RASs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24620DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5882333PMC
March 2018

Interferon-free treatment for patients with chronic hepatitis C and autoimmune liver disease: higher SVR rates with special precautions for deterioration of autoimmune hepatitis.

Oncotarget 2018 Feb 3;9(14):11631-11637. Epub 2018 Feb 3.

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

Background: Interferon-free treatment can achieve higher sustained virological response (SVR) rates, even in patients in whom hepatitis C virus (HCV) could not be eradicated in the interferon treatment era. Immune restoration in the liver is occasionally associated with HCV infection. We examined the safety and effects of interferon-free regimens on HCV patients with autoimmune liver diseases.

Results: All 7 HCV patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) completed treatment and achieved SVR. Three patients took prednisolone (PSL) at baseline, and 3 did not take PSL during interferon-free treatment. In one HCV patient with AIH and cirrhosis, PSL were not administered at baseline, but she needed to take 40 mg/day PSL at week 8 for liver dysfunction. She also complained back pain and was diagnosed with vasospastic angina by coronary angiography at week 11. However, she completed interferon-free treatment. All 5 HCV patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) completed treatment and achieved SVR. Three of these HCV patients with PBC were treated with UDCA during interferon-free treatment.

Conclusions: Interferon-free regimens could result in higher SVR rates in HCV patients with autoimmune liver diseases. As interferon-free treatment for HCV may have an effect on hepatic immunity and activity of the autoimmune liver diseases, careful attention should be paid to unexpected adverse events in their treatments.

Methods: Total 12 patients with HCV and autoimmune liver diseases [7 AIH and PBC], who were treated with interferon-free regimens, were retrospectively analyzed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24391DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5837765PMC
February 2018

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

Compensating effect of minor portal hypertension on the muscle mass loss-related poor prognosis in cirrhosis.

Int J Med Sci 2017 19;14(9):804-810. Epub 2017 Jul 19.

Department of Research Center for Frontier Medical Engineering, Chiba University, 1-33, Yayoicho, Inage-ku, Chiba, 263-8522, Japan.

To examine the influence of the severity of portal hemodynamic abnormality on the prognosis of cirrhosis with respect to the muscle mass loss (MML). The study involved a subgroup analysis in 98 cirrhosis patients (63.5 ± 11.8 years) who prospectively underwent both Doppler ultrasound and hepatic venous catheterization. The prognostic influence of MML diagnosed by computed tomography using the L3 skeletal muscle index was evaluated (median observation period, 32.7 months). The cumulative survival rate showed difference between patients with MML (n = 34; 82.2%/1year, 41.2%/3years and 36.1%/5years) and those without (n = 64; 92.1%/1year, 74.9%/3years and 69.4%/5years; P = 0.005). When divided with respect to the portal velocity, the survival rate showed differences between patients with and without MML in the cohort < 12.8 cm/s (n=52, p=0.009) and ≥ 12.8 cm/s (n=44, p=0.041). The survival rate also showed differences between patients with MML (n = 24; 78.8%/1year, 40.6%/3years and 34.8%/5years) and those without (n = 45; 91.1%/1year, 71.3%/3years and 63.1%/5years; P = 0.008) in the cohort with hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) > 12 mmHg. However, in the cohort with HVPG ≤ 12 mmHg, survival rate showed no difference between patients with MML (n=10; 100%/1year, 61.9%/3years and 61.9%/5years) and those without (n=19; 93.8%/1year, 71.2%/3years and 59.4%/5years; p = 0.493) Lower HVPG has a compensating effect on the MML-induced poor prognosis of cirrhosis. Care should be taken in the evaluation of the influence of MML in consideration of the severity of portal hypertension.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/ijms.19847DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5562187PMC
May 2018

Application of transcutaneous ultrasonography for the diagnosis of muscle mass loss in patients with liver cirrhosis.

J Gastroenterol 2018 May 18;53(5):652-659. Epub 2017 Aug 18.

Center for Frontier Medical Engineering, Chiba University, 1-33, Yayoi-cho, Inage-ku, Chiba, 263-8522, Japan.

Background: To propose an ultrasound-based parameter for the diagnosis of muscle mass loss (MML) in cirrhosis.

Methods: This is an IRB-approved cross-sectional study (October 2013 to January 2017) with written informed consent including 357 subjects-234 cirrhosis and 123 controls. MML was diagnosed using the skeletal muscle index at the L3 level (L3-SMI) on computed tomography (CT). Transcutaneous ultrasound was used to demonstrate a cross section of the right iliopsoas muscle, and the iliopsoas muscle index (IP index) was defined by the iliopsoas muscle area/height (mm/m). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed to assess the diagnostic ability of IP index for MML.

Results: The iliopsoas muscle was detected in all subjects. The IP index was lower in cirrhosis than in controls: males (211.2 ± 73.8 vs. 295.5 ± 139.4, P < 0.0001) and females (200.2 ± 72.5 vs. 284.4 ± 112.4, P < 0.0001). L3-SMI and IP index showed correlations in males (r = 0.699, P < 0.0001) and in females (r = 0.707, P < 0.0001). Independent factors for MML by multivariate analysis were body mass index and IP index in both males and females. Sensitivity, specificity, and area under the ROC curve by IP index to detect MML were 79.5%, 73.1%, and 0.835, respectively, with the best cut-off value of 189.2 for males, and 84.6%, 78.8%, and 0.874, respectively, with the best cut-off value of 180.6 for females.

Conclusions: Using transcutaneous ultrasound, the IP index may be a valuable diagnostic parameter for MML in cirrhosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00535-017-1378-2DOI Listing
May 2018

Histology-Based Assessment of Sonazoid-Enhanced Ultrasonography for the Diagnosis of Liver Metastasis.

Ultrasound Med Biol 2017 10 26;43(10):2151-2158. Epub 2017 Jul 26.

Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, Chuo-ku, Chiba, Japan.

This retrospective study aimed to assess the diagnostic performance of contrast-enhanced ultrasound with Sonazoid (S-CEUS) for liver metastasis. We enrolled in this study 98 patients with 148 histologically proven liver lesions, with 121 metastases and 27 non-metastases. The S-CEUS technique showed sensitivity in 95.0% (115 of 121), specificity in 44.4% (12 of 27) and accuracy in 85.8% (127 of 148) for the diagnosis of metastasis. Higher body mass index had a negative influence on the positive predictive value and accuracy, and a greater depth of the lesion had a negative influence on the accuracy. The management was changed in 8 patients (8.2%) because of S-CEUS findings. In conclusion, the addition of S-CEUS may offer a great benefit by improvement of the quality of diagnosis and management for patients with cancer who have a tentative diagnosis of liver metastasis by contrast-enhanced computed tomography.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2017.06.014DOI Listing
October 2017
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