Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Sunday, Jan 29, 2023

University of Hong Kong’s new liver cancer treatment strategy gives patients hope

University of Hong Kong’s new liver cancer treatment strategy gives patients hope

New approach combines three common liver cancer treatments, says Clinical Professor Albert Chan.

A new way of treating liver cancer patients can increase their two-year survival rate by at least 20 per cent, Hong Kong researchers have said.

According to a study by the University of Hong Kong (HKU), a combination of three conventional treatments was successful in shrinking the tumours of half of 33 patients suffering from intermediate or late-stage liver cancer, allowing for the growths to be removed.

“What is unique about this approach is that we are actually incorporating three modalities into this combination treatment strategy,” Clinical Professor Albert Chan Chi-yan on Wednesday said. “By doing that we can raise the efficacy from 10 per cent of complete cancer clearance to up to 50 per cent.”

Chan added that in the past, only 30 per cent of liver cancer patients were suitable for tumour removal surgeries. Others would receive only one of the three types of treatment, but only 10 per cent of them could be completely cured.


Attending a press conference on a new liver cancer treatment are (from left) Chiang Chi-leung, Albert Chan and patient Wan Ying-keung.

“We were not happy about this result and tried to improve it. We tried to turn this miracle into a frequent occurrence,” he said.

The study has been published in the British medical journal The Lancet.

The patients, who initially had tumours ranging in size from 5cm (1.9 inches) to 17.5cm, received the treatments between March 2019 and January 2021. They were initially not eligible to have the growth removed for reasons such as its size or position.

After the treatments, the tumours of 31 patients shrank, with 22 of them seeing the growths reduced in size by 30 per cent.

Eighteen patients became suitable for tumour removal and four of them underwent the operation.

More than 90 per cent of the 18 survived two years after the treatment, with the average exceeding 30 months, compared to 50 per cent to 70 per cent of those who did not receive the new treatment.

Patients would first receive transarterial chemoembolisation (TACE), which would kill part of the cancerous cells, followed by stereotactic body radiation (SBRT) therapy to terminate more compromised cells and activate the immune system, and lastly immunotherapy to stimulate the production of white blood cells to fight the cancer.

Chan said his team hoped to expand the approach to all private and public hospitals in the long term.

“We are seeing about 1,800 new cases per year in Hong Kong,” he said. “We are talking about over 1,000 patients who are not eligible for surgeries. Out of these 1,000 patients, we anticipate that about half of [them] will be eligible for this treatment.”

Chan expected between 400 and 600 cancer patients a year could benefit from this approach and 200 to 300 of them could be completely cured.

Clinical Assistant Professor Dr Chiang Chi-leung said phase two of the study had been launched using another type of immunotherapy with a higher efficacy rate and 17 patients had been recruited so far.

Retiree Wan Ying-keung, 68, was diagnosed with liver cancer in early 2020 but was not suitable for surgery because the tumour was too large and close to blood vessels.

The combined treatment shrank his tumour, making the removal operation unnecessary.

“This is so remarkable and I was very happy,” he said. “I had an appointment with the doctor yesterday, and he said the tumour had almost gone completely, and of course long-term monitoring is needed, but I am very grateful.”

Only patients who are not eligible for removal surgery with growths at least 5cm can qualify for the combined treatment. The tumour must not have spread to other organs or invaded major blood vessels.

The new treatment plan is now available at Queen Mary Hospital. As the TACE and SBRT are fully subsidised by the government at public hospitals, patients would only need to pay about HK$200,000 US$ (US$25,610) for six months of immunotherapy.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Close
0:00
0:00
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Preparations begin for Spring Festival travel rush
Domestic COVID-19 drug effective in trial
HK to see a full recovery, John Lee says in New Year message
Bargain hunters flock to last day of Hong Kong brands and products expo
Hong Kong aims for January 8 reopening of border with mainland China
Chinese Revenge Travelers Will Steer Clear of a Hostile US
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
2023 Will Be the Year of the Electric SUV
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
×