Aim: To estimate if and to what extent long acting octreotide (LAR) improves survival and quality of life in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods: A total of 127 cirrhotics, stages A-B, due to chronic viral infections and with advanced HCC, were enrolled in the study. Scintigraphy with 111Indium labeled octreotide was performed in all cases. The patients with increased accumulation of radionuclear compound were randomized to receive either oral placebo only or octreotide/octreotide LAR only as follows: octreotide 0.5 mg s.c. every 8 h for 6 wk, at the end of wk 4-8 octreotide LAR 20 mg i.m. and at the end of wk 12 and every 4 wk octreotide LAR 30 mg i.m.. Follow-up was worked out monthly as well as the estimation of quality of life (QLQ-C30 questionnaire). Patients with negative somatostatin receptors (SSTR) detection were followed up in the same manner.
Results: Scintigraphy demonstrated SSTR in 61 patients. Thirty were randomized to receive only placebo and 31 only octreotide. A significantly higher survival time was observed for the octreotide group (49+/-6 wk) as compared to the control group (28+/-1 wk) and to the SSTR negative group (28+/-2 wk), LR=20.39, df=2, P<0.01. The octreotide group presented 68.5% lower hazard ratio [95% CI (47.4%-81.2%)]. During the first year, a 22%, 39% and 43% decrease in the QLQ-C30 score was observed in each group, respectively.
Conclusion: The proposed therapeutic approach has shown to improve the survival and quality of life in SSTR positive patients with advanced HCC.