Anticancer research

Initial experience with hepatic intraarterial fotemustine and interferon alpha 2b combination for treatment of liver tumors.

PMID 22199330


Locoregional treatments represent a good option for patients suffering from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) not eligible for resection or transplantation. Locoregional approaches include a wide spectrum of therapeutic methods and hepatic intra-arterial drug infusion is also considered. Fotemustine is a chemotherapy drug usually administered intravenously according to standard administration schedules. Interferon alpha 2b (IFNα2b), a biological response modifier conventionally administered by a systemic route, has been employed in the treatment of both virus-related hepatitis and HCC. Nonetheless, both drugs can also be infused into the hepatic artery. We report on five patients with liver cancer, not suitable for conventional therapies, treated with hepatic intra-arterial administration of fotemustine in combination with IFNα2b. They received fotemustine at a dose of 30 mg/m(2) and IFNα2b at a starting dose of 2,000,000 IU (increasing up to 3,000,000 IU for subsequent administrations) weekly for three consecutive weeks, followed by two weeks of rest. Among the patients suffering from HCC, the first patient showed a partial response, two patients had almost stable disease and one patient was not assessable. A patient with an intrahepatic biliary tract cancer experienced disease progression. The therapeutic regimen used showed acceptable tolerability profiles and lack of life-threatening side-effects. Further evaluation with a larger patient cohort will be required to clarify if fotemustine and IFNα2b administered into the hepatic artery could be beneficial in treating patients with HCC.

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Fotemustine, ≥98% (HPLC)