a non-invasive treatment trial will soon begin

Liver cancer: a non-invasive treatment trial will soon begin

A new non-invasive treatment for inoperable early-stage liver cancer is set to be trialled across Australia this year.

The trial conducted by Professor Alan Wigg of flinders university The College of Medicine and Public Health aims to test stereotactic ablative body radiation therapy (SABR), a noninvasive technique that allows precise delivery of high doses of radiation.

Currently, the standard of care for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, is treatment with percutaneous ablation, a thermal ablation treatment delivered directly into the tumor using a needle. .

“Studies have shown that the current standard of care is not always effective, with cancer likely to come back in over 30% of cases, and a number of people not having access to treatment in the first place, due to the size and position of the tumour,” Professor Wigg said.

Stereotactic ablative body radiation therapy is a relatively new radiation therapy technique that has already been used successfully to treat a number of other cancers, but it is not yet widely used to treat liver cancers, he said. declared.

“It is delivered non-invasively by targeting the tumor with a number of beams of radiation from different angles, allowing delivery of a high dose and precise treatment over three to five sessions and reducing tissue damage. healthy surroundings.”

The project, a collaboration between leading hepatologists, radiation oncologists and radiologists at 16 leading Australian liver centres, will carry out a randomized controlled trial to compare non-invasive treatment to the current invasive standard of care, with the possibility that the results modify the treatment. global protocols.

“Currently, SBRT is considered experimental and only used after first-line treatments have failed,” Professor Wigg said.

“However, preliminary research has shown that the treatment has the potential to control tumors with very few adverse events and can reach those that would not be treatable with percutaneous ablation, due to the size or difficult location of the tumor. a tumor.”

Researchers say that with the rise in liver cancer rates in Australia, it is essential that the best treatment is proven and applied.

“Hepatocellular carcinoma rates have increased 378% over the past 30 years, the second highest increase of any cancer type, while its death rate has seen the largest increase of any cancer,” said Professor Wigg.

“HCC is the only low-survival cancer whose incidence is increasing rapidly. It is therefore essential that we find ways to improve patient outcomes.

“SABR may improve tumor control while being able to be administered on an outpatient basis over fewer treatment sessions, which means it is also likely to be cost effective and capable of rapid adoption into clinical practice. “

The 5-year trial, funded by the Medical Research Future Fund’s Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need Grant Opportunity program, will begin this year with planned trial sites in all major states of Australia.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/magicmine

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