Objective: To observe the short-term efficacy and safety of Shenqi mixture (SQM) combined with microwave coagulation in treating primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods: Seventy-two patients with primary HCC of stage II-III, Karnofsky scoring > or = 50 scores and predicted survival period > or = 3 months were selected and randomly assigned into two groups, the treated group and the control group, 36 in each. Microwave therapy was applied to both groups by double leads, 60 W, 800 sec once a week for two weeks. To the treated group, SQM was given additionally through oral intake of 20 ml, three times a day for 1 month. The changes in tumor size, main symptoms, serum level of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), immune function and adverse reaction were observed after treatment and the immune parameters of the patients were compared with 30 healthy persons in the normal control group.
Results: (1) In the SQM treated group, after treatment 3 patients got completely remitted (CR), 24 partial remitted (PR), 4 unchanged (NC) and 5 progressively deteriorated (PD), the effective rate being 75.00%; while in the control group, 1 got CR, 19 PR, 9 NC and 7 PD, the effective rate being 55.56%. Comparison of the effective rate between the two groups showed significant difference (P < 0.05). (2) AFP level decreased after treatment in both groups, but the decrement in the treated group was significantly higher than that in the control group (P < 0.01). (3) After treatment, in the treated group, CD3(+), CD4(+), CD4(+)/CD8(+) and NK activity were improved, Karnofsky scores increased and liver function bettered, with these improvements significantly superior to those in the control group (P < 0.01). (4) The improvement in symptoms such as hepatic region pain, fever, weakness, poor appetite and jaundice in the treated group after treatment was also superior to that in the control group (P < 0.01). (5) The 12-month, 18-month and 24-month survival rates were higher and the recurrence rate was lower in the treated group than those in the control group, showing significant difference (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Combined therapy with SQM and microwave coagulation could not only kill the tumor and residue tumor cells to prevent recurrence, but also enhance the cellular immunity of organism. It is one of the effective therapies for patients with middle-advanced hepatocarcinoma, who have lost the chance of surgical operation. It could improve clinical symptoms, elevate the quality of life, prolong the survival period of patients, but shows no evident adverse reaction.