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Antiviral medication may help liver cancer patients

Category: Liver Diseases

Liver testing conducted by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University has confirmed that treating hepatitis B with antiviral medication also helps lower the risk that these patients will develop liver cancer.

The study included 15 patients who had tumors on their livers removed and who also had confirmed cases of hepatitis B. Surgical removal is the most common treatment for liver tumors, but they often recur.

However, the investigation found that individuals who were receiving antiviral therapy for their hepatitis B infection had a median survival rate of 60 months, while those who were not on such treatments had a median survival of 12.5 months.

"Before the antiviral drugs were developed, patients would often develop new lesions within a few months of tumor [removal] because we were not treating the underlying virus that is causing the liver cancer," said Hie-Won Hann, who led the research.

Hepatitis B cannot be cured, but antiviral medications can suppress the virus to a point where it is no longer able to affect the body. During the study, those who were on antiviral treatments maintained undetectable levels of the virus.

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