Doxorubicin versus no antitumor therapy in inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma. A prospective randomized trial

Cancer. 1988 Aug 1;62(3):479-83. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19880801)62:3<479::aid-cncr2820620306>;2-l.


To assess the efficacy and safety of Adriamycin (Adria Laboratories, Columbus, OH) in inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), 60 patients were randomized to receive Adriamycin 60 to 75 mg/m2 at 3-week intervals and 46 patients to receive no antitumor therapy. The median survival rate of the Adriamycin group was 10.6 weeks; that of the group receiving no antitumor therapy was 7.5 weeks (P = 0.036). Adriamycin induced tumor regression of 25% to 50% in 5% of patients and of over 50% in only 3.3% of patients. It caused fatal complications (septicemia and cardiotoxicity) in 25% of patients. The severity of neutropenia leading to septicemia for a particular dose was unpredictable. Four of eight patients who developed cardiotoxicity received less than 500 mg/m2 of Adriamycin. We conclude that Adriamycin is not an ideal drug for the treatment of inoperable HCC.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Doxorubicin / adverse effects
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation


  • Doxorubicin