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Hepatocellular Carcinoma Case Studies

Pierre Gholam, MD: Next Steps for Jose

Pierre Gholam, MD
Published Online:Jun 18, 2015
Jose V is a 73-year-old Filipino store owner from Queens, New York, with a history of chronic hepatitis B (HBV) infection and unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (uHCC).

Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma: case 1


Dr. Gholam would consider systemic therapy after a patient has failed treatment after 2 or 3 TACE procedures. Unfortunately, only about 50% or less of patients who undergo TACE have some degree of disease control; often, one has to resort to additional options when we are no longer able to control disease with TACE. Systemic therapy at this point would consist of the administration of sorafenib. Sorafenib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has been shown to improve survival in patients who receive it versus placebo in large controlled randomized trials.

CASE 1: Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Jose V is a 73-year-old Filipino store owner from Queens, New York, with a history of chronic hepatitis B (HBV) infection and unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (uHCC).

In May 2014, patient was referred to a hepatologist with an elevated ALT (68 IU/mL)
  • Medical history includes type II diabetes, previously treated with metformin and a sulfonylurea; currently controlled with diet and exercise regimen; other MH was unremarkable
  • Family history was relevant for a sister who was diagnosed with HCC and chronic HBV infection at age 60
  • No symptoms of liver disease were noted; patient had mild tenderness over the right upper quadrant
  • Ultrasound revealed a hyperechoic lesion in the left lobe; MRI with gadolinium showed an 11-cm mass in the left lobe with imaging characteristics consistent with HCC. No evidence of metastatic disease was noted on bone scan and uncontrasted CT scan of the chest.
  • Based on laboratory findings and clinical features, the patient was determined to have Child Pugh Class A, with a MELD score of 8
  • Consultation with the multidisciplinary team recommended surgical resection, however patient was fearful of surgery and opted for TACE procedure
In June of 2014, follow-up CT scan showed evidence of residual disease at the TACE site; a second TACE was scheduled for 10 weeks following the first TACE. In August of 2014, an MRI showed evidence of residual disease in the periphery of the tumor approximately 6 weeks following the second TACE procedure.
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