Skin Rash Determines Survival in Liver Cancer Patients
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A skin rash could be a sign of how long a patient with liver cancer will survive.
When researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute looked at the effects of lapatinib, a new chemotherapy drug for liver cancer, they found the development of a skin rash was directly linked to how the patient responded to the treatment.
Study participants were 57 patients with advanced liver, gallbladder and bile duct cancers who were not candidates for surgery. Results show 20 of the patients treated with lapatinib developed a skin rash and survived an average of 10 months. Those who did not develop a rash survived only five months.
"While we don't yet know exactly why this has been reported here and in other studies, it has implications for predicting the growth of cancer and could be a method to identify patients with advanced cancer who would be most likely to respond to this treatment," says Ramesh K. Ramanathan, M.D., principal investigator and associate professor of hematology and oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
The study also shows lapatinib was well-tolerated by patients.
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SOURCE: Presented at the Annual 43rd American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting, Atlanta, June 2-6, 2006