Medline: 11078495

The abstract Journal of Clinical Oncology 18(22): 3819-3828, 2000. is available online.

The fulltext Journal of Clinical Oncology 18(22): 3819-3828, 2000. may be available online for subscribers.

Cisplatin, doxorubicin, and delayed surgery for childhood hepatoblastoma: a successful approach--results of the first prospective study of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology.

Pritchard J, Brown J, Shafford E, et al.


Hepatoblastoma (HB) is a rare malignant liver tumor which occurs almost exclusively in childhood. In the 1970s, survival was approximately 20% to 30%. Since the introduction of cisplatin (PLA) and doxorubicin (DO) into the chemotherapy regimens used to treat these patients, the survival rate has improved dramatically. In most recent studies, primary surgery preceded chemotherapy. In this study by the liver group of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology the aim was to improve survival and reduce operative morbidity and mortality by using preoperative chemotherapy.

Patients and Methods:
After biopsy and assessment of pretreatment extent of disease all patients were treated with continuous 24-hour intravenous infusion of PLA 80 mg/m(2) followed by DO 60 mg/m(2) over 48 hours (PLADO). After four courses of this chemotherapy, patients were reassessed. Where possible, the primary tumor was resected and treatment completed with two more courses of chemotherapy.

One hundred fifty-four patients were registered in the study, and 138 received preoperative chemotherapy. One hundred thirteen (82%) showed a partial response with tumor shrinkage and serial decrease of serum alpha-fetoprotein levels. One hundred fifteen patients had delayed surgery, and 106 (including six with liver transplants) had complete resection of primary tumor. Five-year event-free survival was 66%, and overall survival was 75%.

This study demonstrates that international collaboration on a large scale is feasible. The toxicity of chemotherapy and morbidity of surgery were acceptable and the overall survival gratifyingly high. We now regard PLADO chemotherapy and delayed surgery to be the best available treatment for children with HB. Other treatment programs should be measured against this standard.

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Dr. G. Quade