The first results show that up to 95% of patients with an initially too small residual liver can undergo the final surgery
Our liver is a special organ: if you cut out part of it, in most cases a piece of new liver will grow back. If someone has cancer in the liver, you can surgically remove the affected part of the liver. But that is only possible if at least 30% liver remains. For many patients with a residual liver that is too small, this means that they cannot be operated on. But thanks to international research from Maastricht UMC+, the treatment options for cancer in the liver have now been expanded considerably.
Fac. Health, Medicine and Life Sciences
Since 1986, in patients who need liver surgery and who have too small a residual liver, the supply of blood in the affected part of the liver can be cut off. The healthy part will then grow by as much as 10% in 6 weeks. In this way, sufficient ‘residual’ liver is eventually created to safely remove the diseased part surgically. But unfortunately this approach only works well enough in only 60% of patients.
New additional technology
Physician and researcher Remon Korenblik, together with main researcher surgeon-oncologist Ronald van Dam and interventional radiologist Christiaan van der Leij, are investigating an additional treatment option for cancer in the liver: “The new idea of this so-called DRAGON study was not only to cut off the supply, but to to simultaneously block the drainage of blood from the diseased side of the liver. In the hope that more new liver would grow faster. Our research shows that this is indeed the case: Whereas previously 60% of patients could be operated on within 6 weeks, this can now often be done much faster. The first results show that up to 95% of patients with an initially too small residual liver can undergo the final surgery ”
This is of course very good news and a big step forward. This technique has now been successfully applied to 90 patients in 42 hospitals, spread over 17 countries. 70 hospitals have now joined the research group. But Remon isn’t done yet: “The next step is to further investigate the safety and effectiveness of these treatments in a randomized randomized trial called the DRAGON 2 trial. Because only then will worldwide guidelines be introduced and this technique can be introduced as standard care. We also want to investigate for which other types of cancer in the liver this treatment is effective. I expect that in about five years’ time we will know for sure whether this technique will be as successful as we think and hope. Because then this would really mean an enormous progress in the treatment of patients with metastases in the liver and patients with primary liver cancer.
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Better chances of liver cancer
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