Nexavar Improves Liver Cancer Survival Rates
Nexavar drug is found to improve survival rates in liver cancer patients.
A joint team of researchers from Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) Group has examined 602 advanced liver cancer patients who were divided into two groups: one group was taking Nexavar - sorafenib, the second group was taking a placebo.
Placebo group patients reported an average of 7.9 months of survival rate, while Nexavar group patients reported 10.7 months, which is a 3 month more improvement. This is not a significant improvement, but researchers are excited, because this is the first step toward providing liver cancer treatment. Some patients even had a 3 year long improvement in survival rates.
According to American Cancer Society (ACS) statistics, each year about 21000 Americans are being diagnosed to have liver cancer, an estimated 18,410 people with die from the disease in 2008. Liver cancer mainly occurs among those who were infected with hepatitis B or C virus, this is why they are advised to undergo liver screenings once every 6 months.
Liver cancer treatments are not very effective, especially when the disease is diagnosed late. If it is diagnosed early, it is sometimes possible to remove tumor or to perform transplant surgery. Otherwise, drug treatment methods don't work, because liver is good in pushing drugs out and detoxifying. Drugs can't stay long in liver and don't affect it much.
Nexavar is an approved advanced kidney cancer which is working by reducing the number of cell proliferation and newly growing blood vessels. This means that the drug is not reducing tumor size, it just prevents the tumor from growing.
Researchers are now working on Nexavar, trying to combine it with other drugs and achieve better results. Researchers are also trying to find out how the drug works on different stages of liver cancer. Although the drug is expensive - about $5,000 a month - it is yet the only drug for liver cancer treatment.