Treat liver metastases from colon cancer with a combination of heat and chemistry
Colon cancer is the second most common form of malignant tumor. In particular, if the cancer has already spread, the expected lifetime will decrease significantly. Most often, metastases form in the liver. A study has now shown that combination therapy with heat and chemistry doubles the average survival time.
Expected life expectancy drops significantly
Colorectal cancer (colorectal cancer) is one of the most common cancers in Germany. Around 26,000 people die of it every year in Germany. The chances of recovery depend heavily on how early the cancer and its precursors are discovered. And also whether the colon cancer has already spread; because then the expected lifetime will decrease significantly.
Average survival doubled
In colon cancer, the most common form of metastasis is in the liver. Ideally, these can be operated out completely. According to experts, however, they can only be surgically removed in around 20 percent of cases.
The University Hospital Frankfurt has now - for the first time in an extensive study with 452 patients - examined the effectiveness of interventional oncological therapy: the combination of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and thermoablation.
According to the information, the use of these two well-tolerated treatments doubled the average survival.
Combination therapy brings significant benefits
"This alternative is particularly suitable for patients for whom all other treatments have been unsuccessful," explains Prof. Thomas Vogl, Director of the Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at the University Hospital Frankfurt in a message.
"The study results show that the combination therapy brings a significant benefit for them," said the expert.
The study results were published in the "European Journal of Radiology".
The study results result from long-term, continuous research work.
“We have been developing and researching minimally invasive radiological therapies for many years. With the TACE, we have already achieved success in seriously ill patients and increased life expectancy, ”explains Prof. Vogl.
"With the combination now used with thermal ablation, the results have been significantly improved once again."
With TACE therapy, a catheter system is inserted into the body and connected to the organ to be treated - in this case the liver. Then the exchange of the liver with the rest of the body's blood circulation is interrupted.
A chemotherapeutic agent is then administered directly into the liver via the catheter system. As a result, the drug only works in the organ and protects the rest of the body.
In the current study, pure treatment with TACE therapy was compared with a combination of TACE and subsequent thermal ablation.
With thermal ablation, a special probe is first inserted through the skin into the affected tissue under local anesthesia. With their help, the doctors then heat the tumor tissue, causing it to be destroyed and then broken down independently by the body.
Various energy sources can be used for this process. In the current study, microwave ablation and laser-induced thermotherapy (LITT) were used.
The combined therapy significantly reduced the diameter of the liver metastases. Accordingly, the average patient survival doubled from just over a year (12.6 months) to more than two years (25.8 months).
At the same time, the therapies are associated with only minor side effects.
"With this combination therapy, we can give seriously ill patients valuable additional lifespan - due to their good tolerance with a relatively high quality of life," said Prof. Vogl.
"We will continue our efforts in the future and optimize the treatment methods in further studies in order to achieve even better results for the patients." (Ad)