Researchers at Samsung Medical Center have found that a multi-department treatment can increase the survival rate of liver cancer patients, the hospital said Tuesday.
|Samsung Medical Center in Ilwon-dong, Seoul.|
The team, led by Professors Baek Seung-woon, Im Hyo-geun, Shin Dong-hyun, Choi Gyu-sung and Park Hee-chul at the hospital, came to that conclusion after analyzing the survival rate of 6,619 liver cancer patients who visited the hospital from 2005 to 2013.
The researchers divided these patients into two groups – patients that received multi-department treatment (738 patients) and those who did not (5,881).
As a result, the five-year survival rate of patients who received multi-department was 71.2 percent, which was higher than the patients that did not receive multi-department treatment (49.4 percent).
The results were the same when the team included statistical correction and analysis of factors influencing survival rates, including age and gender, hepatitis B status, cancer progression, and the time of diagnosis.
The survival rate of the multi-department treatment group was 71.4 percent, while that of the comparison group was 58.7 percent.
Also, the team confirmed that they could reduce the risk of death by 33 percent when providing multi-department treatment to those who did not receive the multi-department treatment.
In particular, these effects were more prominent when liver cancer was progressive, or liver functions were not working correctly.
The researchers concluded that it was because liver cancer treatment is more complex and more selective than other cancers.
Liver cancer occurs mainly in patients with chronic liver disease, and recurrence rates are high even if detected and treated early. Also, the need to preserve the function of the liver during treatment makes it more difficult to cure.
“Moreover, the fact that there are various methods, including as hepatic resection, laparoscopic liver resection, cryotherapy, microwave ablation, embolization, chemotherapy and target therapy, to treat hepatocellular carcinoma shows why there is a high need for multi-department treatment,” the hospital said. “In recent years, the procedure has become even more complicated with the introduction of proton therapy.”
In such complex situations, multi-department care, in which doctors of various departments gather together to present treatment directions, are more likely to offer a personalized and optimized treatment for the patient, it added.