Background/aims: Pravastatin, a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor, has been shown to inhibit growth and to induce apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. However, the potential benefit of pravastatin in HCC patients has still not been characterized, which prompted us to test the efficacy of pravastatin in patients with advanced HCC.
Methods: We investigated prospectively a cohort of 183 HCC patients who had been selected for palliative treatment by transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). Fifty-two patients received TACE combined with pravastatin (20-40 mg/day) and 131 patients received chemoembolization alone. Six independent predictors of survival according to the Vienna survival model for HCC were equally distributed in both groups.
Results: During the observation period of up to 5 years, 31 (23.7%) out of 131 patients treated by TACE alone and 19 (36.5%) out of 52 patients treated by TACE and pravastatin survived. Median survival was significantly longer in HCC patients treated by TACE and pravastatin (20.9 months, 95% CI 15.5-26.3, p = 0.003) than in HCC patients treated by TACE alone (12.0 months, 95% CI 10.3-13.7).
Conclusion: Combined treatment of chemoembolization and pravastatin improves survival of patients with advanced HCC in comparison to patients receiving chemoembolization alone.
2008 S. Karger AG, Basel.