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1.  Evaluation of endoscopic biliary stenting for obstructive jaundice caused by hepatocellular carcinoma 
AIM: To review the usefulness of endoscopic biliary stenting for obstructive jaundice caused by hepatocellular carcinoma and identify problems that may need to be addressed.
METHODS: The study population consisted of 36 patients with obstructive jaundice caused by hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who underwent endoscopic biliary stenting (EBS) as the initial drainage procedure at our hospital. The EBS technical success rate and drainage success rate were assessed. Drainage was considered effective when the serum total bilirubin level decreased by 50% or more following the procedure compared to the pre-drainage value. Survival time after the procedure and patient background characteristics were assessed comparatively between the successful drainage group (group A) and the non-successful drainage group (group B). The EBS stent patency duration in the successful drainage group (group A) was also assessed.
RESULTS: The technical success rate was 100% for both the initial endoscopic nasobiliary drainage and EBS in all patients. Single stenting was placed in 21 patients and multiple stenting in the remaining 15 patients. The drainage successful rate was 75% and the median interval to successful drainage was 40 d (2-295 d). The median survival time was 150 d in group A and 22 d in group B, with the difference between the two groups being statistically significant (P < 0.0001). There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups with respect to patient background characteristics, background liver condition, or tumor factors; on the other hand, the two groups showed statistically significant differences in patients without a history of hepatectomy (P = 0.009) and those that received multiple stenting (P = 0.036). The median duration of stent patency was 43 d in group A (2-757 d). No early complications related to the EBS technique were encountered. Late complications occurred in 13 patients (36.1%), including stent occlusion in 7, infection in 3, and distal migration in 3.
CONCLUSION: EBS is recommended as the initial drainage procedure for obstructive jaundice caused by HCC, as it appears to contribute to prolongation of survival time.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i22.6968
PMCID: PMC4051939  PMID: 24944490
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Obstructive jaundice; Biliary drainage; Percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage; Endoscopic biliary stenting
2.  Evaluation of endoscopic cytological diagnosis of unresectable pancreatic cancer prior to and after the introduction of endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2014;2(4):599-603.
With the advances in the multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatic cancer (PC) over the last few years, it is crucial to obtain a histopathological diagnosis prior to treatment. Histopathological diagnosis for unresectable PC is currently performed with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in combination with endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA). We retrospectively assessed the results of these two methods and investigated diagnostic performance according to the location of the lesion and the complications. This study was conducted on a series of 263 consecutive cases of unresectable PC diagnosed with endoscopic cytology. Up to 2006, ERCP-guided cytology (group A) was performed as the first choice for the diagnosis of PC. EUS-FNA was introduced in 2007 and became the first choice thereafter (group B), except in cases with obstructive jaundice, in which ERCP-guided cytology during endoscopic biliary stenting (EBS) remains the first choice. There were statistically significant differences in the overall cancer-positive rate between groups A and B (60.4 vs. 75.3%, P=0.01). The cancer-positive rate in the pancreatic body and tail was significantly higher in group B (59.5 vs. 83.3%, P=0.005), whereas there were no significant differences regarding cancer of the pancreatic head. The complication rate was 4.95% in group A and 3.09% in group B (P=0.448). The endoscopic cytology cancer-positive rate in unresectable PC cases was increased as a result of the introduction of EUS-FNA. In conclusion, we recommend performing EUS-FNA in combination with ERCP-guided cytology in cases with a lesion in the pancreatic head that requires EBS.
doi:10.3892/mco.2014.277
PMCID: PMC4051556  PMID: 24940503
unresectable pancreatic cancer; endoscopic cytology; endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration
3.  Usefulness of short-term eltrombopag treatment as a supportive treatment in hepatocellular carcinoma patients with cirrhosis and severe thrombocytopenia: A report of two cases 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(6):2130-2134.
Eltrombopag is an oral thrombopoietin (TPO) receptor agonist that increases platelet counts in patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and in patients with liver cirrhosis. When cirrhotic patients with thrombocytopenia undergo elective invasive procedures, eltrombopag treatment reduces the requirement for platelet transfusions. However, TPO is known to have proliferative effects on hepatic progenitor cells and hepatic sinusoidal endothelial cells, which indicates that eltrombopag may accelerate tumor progression. Thus, the effect of eltrombopag on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression is an important issue. The current study describes two cases of HCC with cirrhosis-related thrombocytopenia. A two-week administration of eltrombopag increased platelet counts from 4.8 to 11.3×104 /μl in case 1 and 4.5 to 23.2×104 /μl in case 2. However, no changes were identified in the serum levels of tumor markers or HCC size following eltrombopag administration in the two cases. These HCCs were curatively treated by radiofrequency ablation without platelet transfusions or serious bleeding. Thus, short-term eltrombopag administration may not accelerate HCC proliferation and may be beneficial for invasive HCC treatment in cirrhotic patients with thrombocytopenia.
doi:10.3892/ol.2014.1976
PMCID: PMC4049767  PMID: 24932302
chronic liver disease; thrombopoietin receptor; hepatoma; growth; megakaryocyte growth and development factor
4.  Disappearance of Oral Lichen Planus After Liver Transplantation for Primary Biliary Cirrhosis and Immunosuppressive Therapy in a 63-year-Old Japanese Woman 
Hepatitis Monthly  2014;14(3):e16310.
Introduction:
There are few reports concerning association between primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and lichen planus. In addition, there is only one report about lichen planus after liver transplantation.
Case Presentation:
We describe a case of oral lichen planus (OLP) accompanied with PBC that resolved following liver transplantation 14 years later. This patient received immunosuppressive drugs after liver transplantation.
Discussion:
The disappearance of OLP might be due to immunosuppressive therapy following liver transplantation. Further observations and studies are necessary to clarify the relationship between OLP and PBC.
doi:10.5812/hepatmon.16310
PMCID: PMC3984472  PMID: 24734093
Lichen Planus, Oral; Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary; Liver Transplantation
5.  Clinical characteristics and prognostic factors for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma with extrahepatic metastasis 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2014;2(3):393-398.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignancies worldwide. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether there are differences in the clinical characteristics and survival between patients with advanced HCC with extrahepatic metastasis who received and those who did not receive previous treatment. Between April, 1998 and April, 2012, a total of 419 HCC patients with extrahepatic metastasis (81 previously untreated and 338 previously treated) were enrolled in this study. The differences in the clinical characteristics, including metastatic sites, were compared between the two groups. In addition, the prognostic predictors among all the patients and among the 81 previously untreated patients were analyzed. The distribution of the major metastatic sites was similar in the two groups; the most frequent site of extrahepatic metastasis was the lungs, followed by the bones, lymph nodes and adrenal glands. The median survival time (MST) among the 419 patients was 6.8 months. The 1-, 2-, 3- and 5-year survival rates were 31.6, 15.3, 9.5 and 2.3%, respectively. No significant differences in survival were observed between patients who received and those who did not receive previous treatment. The multivariate analysis revealed that the Child-Pugh classification, white blood cell count, neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and primary tumor stage were independent predictors of survival for all the patients and for the 81 previously untreated patients. Differences in the clinical characteristics of patients with advanced HCC with extrahepatic metastasis were identified between patients who received and those who did not receive previous treatment. Furthermore, intrahepatic tumor status, Child-Pugh classification, white blood cell count and NLR were demonstrated to be independent predictors of survival in HCC patients with extrahepatic metastasis.
doi:10.3892/mco.2014.259
PMCID: PMC3999133  PMID: 24772306
hepatocellular carcinoma; extrahepatic metastasis; survival; previous treatment
6.  Contribution of diuretic therapy with human serum albumin to the management of ascites in patients with advanced liver cirrhosis: A prospective cohort study 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2014;2(3):349-355.
The number of available studies on the role of human serum albumin (HSA) in the treatment of cirrhotic ascites is currently limited. In this study, we aimed to investigated the parameters associated with diuretic therapy with HSA in patients with advanced cirrhotic ascites. The patient inclusion criteria were cirrhotic ascites and a serum albumin (Alb) concentration of <3.5 g/dl. A total of 49 patients registered and 38 patients were ultimately included in this study. The enrolled patients were mainly treated with oral spironolactone and furosemide, which were not specified; the HSA amount was also not specified, although the administration period was set to a maximum of 7 days. Our results demonstrated that the administration of HSA significantly increased the serum levels of Alb [0.97 g/dl; two-sided 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.83–1.11 g/dl] and decreased body weight (−2.24 kg; 95% CI: −3.06 to −1.43 kg), hematocrit ratio (0.96; 95% CI: 0.94–0.98) and plasma renin concentration (day 4; geometric mean fold change, −0.1528; 95% CI: −0.2510 to −0.0545; log-transformed data) in patients with advanced cirrhotic ascites. The observed weight loss was found to be correlated with the total amount of HSA administered (P=0.0012), as indicated by the results of the multiple linear regression analysis. In conclusion, this study confirmed the efficacy of HSA in patients with advanced cirrhotic ascites.
doi:10.3892/mco.2014.245
PMCID: PMC3999121  PMID: 24772299
human serum albumin; liver cirrhosis; ascites; diuretics
7.  Usefulness of magnifying endoscopy with narrow-band imaging for diagnosis of depressed gastric lesions 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2013;2(1):129-133.
The usefulness of magnifying endoscopy with narrow-band imaging (ME-NBI) for the diagnosis of early gastric cancer is well known, however, there are no evaluation criteria. The aim of this study was to devise and evaluate a novel diagnostic algorithm for ME-NBI in depressed early gastric cancer. Between August, 2007 and May, 2011, 90 patients with a total of 110 depressed gastric lesions were enrolled in the study. A diagnostic algorithm was devised based on ME-NBI microvascular findings: microvascular irregularity and abnormal microvascular patterns (fine network, corkscrew and unclassified patterns). The diagnostic efficiency of the algorithm for gastric cancer and histological grade was assessed by measuring its mean sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and accuracy. Furthermore, inter- and intra-observer variation were measured. In the differential diagnosis of gastric cancer from non-cancerous lesions, the mean sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV, and accuracy of the diagnostic algorithm were 86.7, 48.0, 94.4, 26.7, and 83.2%, respectively. Furthermore, in the differential diagnosis of undifferentiated adenocarcinoma from differentiated adenocarcinoma, the mean sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV, and accuracy of the diagnostic algorithm were 61.6, 86.3, 69.0, 84.8, and 79.1%, respectively. For the ME-NBI final diagnosis using this algorithm, the mean κ values for inter- and intra-observer agreement were 0.50 and 0.77, respectively. In conclusion, the diagnostic algorithm based on ME-NBI microvascular findings was convenient and had high diagnostic accuracy, reliability and reproducibility in the differential diagnosis of depressed gastric lesions.
doi:10.3892/mco.2013.213
PMCID: PMC3916206  PMID: 24649321
magnifying endoscopy; narrow-band imaging; early gastric cancer; microvascular architecture; diagnostic algorithm
8.  Metronomic Chemotherapy: Possible Clinical Application in Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma1 
Translational Oncology  2013;6(5):511-519.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a hypervascular highly angiogenic tumor usually associated with liver cirrhosis. Vascular endothelial growth factor plays a critical role in vascular development in HCC. In contrast to the treatment of early-stage HCC, the treatment options for advanced HCC are limited and prognosis is often poor, which contributes to this tumor type being the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Metronomic chemotherapy, which was originally designed to inhibit angiogenesis, involves low-dose chemotherapeutic agents administered in a frequent regular schedule with no prolonged breaks and minimizes severe toxicities. We reviewed the potential effects and impact of metronomic chemotherapy in preclinical studies with HCC models and in patients with advanced HCC, especially when combined with a molecular targeted agent. Metronomic chemotherapy involves multiple mechanisms that include antiangiogenesis and antivasculogenesis, immune stimulation by reducing regulatory T cells and inducing dendritic cell maturation, and possibly some direct tumor cell targeting effects, including the cancer stem cell subpopulation. The total number of preclinical studies with HCC models shows impressive results using metronomic chemotherapy-based protocols, especially in conjunction with molecular targeted agents. Four clinical trials and two case reports evaluating metronomic chemotherapy for HCC indicate it to be a safe and potentially useful treatment for HCC. Several preclinical and clinical HCC studies suggest that metronomic chemotherapy may become an alternative type of chemotherapy for advanced unresectable HCC and postsurgical adjuvant treatment of HCC.
PMCID: PMC3799193  PMID: 24151531
9.  Dipeptidyl peptidase-4: A key player in chronic liver disease 
Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) is a membrane-associated peptidase, also known as CD26. DPP-4 has widespread organ distribution throughout the body and exerts pleiotropic effects via its peptidase activity. A representative target peptide is glucagon-like peptide-1, and inactivation of glucagon-like peptide-1 results in the development of glucose intolerance/diabetes mellitus and hepatic steatosis. In addition to its peptidase activity, DPP-4 is known to be associated with immune stimulation, binding to and degradation of extracellular matrix, resistance to anti-cancer agents, and lipid accumulation. The liver expresses DPP-4 to a high degree, and recent accumulating data suggest that DPP-4 is involved in the development of various chronic liver diseases such as hepatitis C virus infection, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Furthermore, DPP-4 occurs in hepatic stem cells and plays a crucial role in hepatic regeneration. In this review, we described the tissue distribution and various biological effects of DPP-4. Then, we discussed the impact of DPP-4 in chronic liver disease and the possible therapeutic effects of a DPP-4 inhibitor.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i15.2298
PMCID: PMC3631980  PMID: 23613622
Incretin; Viral hepatitis; Insulin resistance; Steatohepatitis; Cancer; Sitagliptin; Vildagliptin; Alogliptin; Teneligliptin; Linagliptin
10.  Significance of a reduction in HCV RNA levels at 4 and 12 weeks in patients infected with HCV genotype 1b for the prediction of the outcome of combination therapy with peginterferon and ribavirin 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:324.
Background
The importance of the reduction in hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA levels 4 and 12 weeks after starting peginterferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin combination therapy has been reported to predict a sustained virologic response (SVR) in patients infected with HCV genotype 1. We conducted a multicenter study to validate this importance along with baseline predictive factors in this patient subpopulation.
Methods
A total of 516 patients with HCV genotype 1 and pretreatment HCV RNA levels ≥5.0 log10 IU/mL who completed response-guided therapy according to the AASLD guidelines were enrolled. The reduction in serum HCV RNA levels 4 and 12 weeks after starting therapy was measured using real-time PCR, and its value in predicting the likelihood of SVR was evaluated.
Results
The area under the receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve was 0.852 for 4-week reduction and 0.826 for 12-week reduction of HCV RNA levels, respectively. When the cut-off is fixed at a 2.8-log10 reduction at 4 weeks and a 4.9-log10 reduction at 12 weeks on the basis of ROC analysis, the sensitivity and specificity for SVR were 80.9% and 77.9% at 4 weeks and were 89.0% and 67.2% at 12 weeks, respectively. These variables were independent factors associated with SVR in multivariate analysis. Among 99 patients who showed a delayed virologic response and completed 72-week extended regimen, the area under ROC curve was low: 0.516 for 4-week reduction and 0.482 for 12-week reduction of HCV RNA levels, respectively.
Conclusions
The reduction in HCV RNA levels 4 and 12 weeks after starting combination therapy is a strong independent predictor for SVR overall. These variables were not useful for predicting SVR in patients who showed a slow virologic response and experienced 72-week extended regimen.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-324
PMCID: PMC3573976  PMID: 23181537
Chronic hepatitis C; Peginterferon; Ribavirin; Reduction in HCV RNA levels; Four and twelve weeks; Baseline factors; Response-guided therapy; Extended treatment
11.  Effect of branched-chain amino acid-enriched nutritional supplementation on interferon therapy in Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection: a retrospective study 
Virology Journal  2012;9:282.
Background
The aims of this study were to evaluate the effects of nutritional supplementation with branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) with zinc component (Aminofeel®) on adherence to and outcome of therapy in patients treated with interferon (IFN) for chronic hepatitis C and cirrhosis and to determine whether to recommend the supplement.
Methods
In this retrospective study, 51 patients who received IFN therapy were investigated among 203 consecutive patients who visited our hospital and were advised regarding the potential benefit of taking Aminofeel®. Each patient was free to choose whether to purchase and take Aminofeel®.
Results
Twenty four patients (group 1-A) took Aminofeel® during standard IFN therapy and 13 (group 1-B) did not. Low-dose, long-term IFN (maintenance) therapy, mainly peglated (Peg)-IFN alpha 2a, was administered to 14 patients who were difficult to treat, because of no effect or harmful side effects with standard IFN therapy, and who had advanced liver fibrosis. Among the 14, 11 patients (group 2-A) took Aminofeel® and 3 (group 2-B) did not. The prevalence of obesity was significantly higher (P=0.04) in group 1-A than in group 1-B. The rate of adherence to IFN therapy was higher in group 1-A (83.3%) than in group 1-B (53.8%, P=0.05). There were no significant differences between the two groups in the rates of sustained virological response (SVR) to IFN therapy. According to multivariate analysis, two factors, SVR and intake of Aminofeel®, were associated with successful adherence to IFN therapy. The adjusted odds ratios for these two factors were 13.25 and 12.59, respectively, and each was statistically significant. The SVR rate of maintenance IFN therapy was in 18.2% group 2-A and 0% in group 2-B.
Conclusion
Our data show that BCAA intake is useful for adherence to and effect of IFN therapy for patients with chronic hepatitis C. Nutritional supplementation with BCAA seems to be useful for HCV-infected patients receiving IFN therapy because it is impossible to introduce standard treatment for all patients among Japan's aging population.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-282
PMCID: PMC3545893  PMID: 23173649
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA); Interferon (IFN); Hepatitis C virus (HCV); Standard IFN therapy; Low-dose long-term IFN therapy
12.  Candidiasis and other oral mucosal lesions during and after interferon therapy for HCV-related chronic liver diseases 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:155.
Background
Oral lichen planus (OLP) is seen frequently in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of oral candidiasis, other mucosal lesions, and xerostomia during interferon (IFN) therapy for HCV infection.
Methods
Of 124 patients with HCV-infected liver diseases treated with IFN therapy in our hospital, 14 (mean age 56.00 ± 12.94 years) who attended to receive administration of IFN once a week were identified and examined for Candida infection and other oral lesions and for the measurement of salivary flow. Serological assays also were carried out.
Results
Cultures of Candida from the tongue surfaces were positive in 7 (50.0%) of the 14 patients with HCV infection at least once during IFN therapy. C. albicans was the most common species isolated. The incidence of Candida during treatment with IFN did not increase above that before treatment. Additional oral mucosal lesions were observed in 50.0% (7/14) of patients: OLP in three (21.4%), angular cheilitis in three (21.4%) and recurrent aphthous stomatitis in one (7.1%). OLP occurred in one patient before treatment with IFN, in one during treatment and in one at the end of treatment. 85.7% of the oral lesions were treated with topical steroids. We compared the characteristics of the 7 patients in whom Candida was detected at least once during IFN therapy (group 1) and the 7 patients in whom Candida was not detected during IFN therapy (group 2). The prevalence of oral mucosal lesions (P=0.0075) and incidence of external use of steroids (P=0.0308) in group 1 were significantly higher than in group 2. The average body weight of group 1 decreased significantly compared to group 2 (P=0.0088). Salivary flow decreased in all subjects throughout the course of IFN treatment and returned at 6th months after the end of treatment. In group 1, the level of albumin at the beginning of the 6th month of IFN administration was lower than in group 2 (P=0.0550). According to multivariate analysis, one factor, the presence of oral mucosal lesions, was associated with the detection of Candida. The adjusted odds ratio for the factor was 36.00 (95% confidence interval 2.68-1485.94).
Conclusion
We should pay more attention to oral candidiasis as well as other oral mucosal lesions, in patients with weight loss during IFN treatment.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-155
PMCID: PMC3503792  PMID: 23122361
13.  Valine, a Branched-Chain Amino Acid, Reduced HCV Viral Load and Led to Eradication of HCV by Interferon Therapy in a Decompensated Cirrhotic Patient 
Case Reports in Gastroenterology  2012;6(3):660-667.
A decreased serum level of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) is a distinctive metabolic disorder in patients with liver cirrhosis. Recently, BCAA has been reported to exert various pharmacological activities, and valine, which is a BCAA, has been shown to affect lipid metabolism and the immune system in in vivo experiments. However, the clinical impact of valine supplementation on viral hepatitis C virus (HCV) load has never been reported. Here, we first describe a case of HCV-related advanced liver cirrhosis that was treated by an oral valine agent. The administration of valine resulted in an improvement of fatigue and a reduction in hepatic fibrosis indexes as well as serum α-fetoprotein level. Furthermore, a marked reduction in HCV RNA levels was seen after valine treatment. The patient was then treated by interferon β, resulting in the successful eradication of chronic HCV infection. Thus, valine may be involved in the reduction of HCV viral load and could support a sustained virologic response to interferon therapy.
doi:10.1159/000343094
PMCID: PMC3506047  PMID: 23185147
Valine; Branched-chain amino acid; Hepatitis C virus; Viral kinetics
14.  Effects and Outcomes of Interferon Treatment in Japanese Hepatitis C Patients 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:139.
Background
No study has compared the long-term prognoses of hepatitis C patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody-negative individuals and investigated the effects of interferon (IFN) treatment. To clarify the long-term prognosis of HCV-positive residents of an isolated Japanese island and prospectively investigate the effects of IFN treatment in comparison with the HCV-negative general population.
Methods
HCV antibody was positive in 1,343 (7.6%) of the 17,712 individuals screened. 792 HCV RNA-positive, HBsAg-negative subjects were enrolled. 1,584 HCV antibody-negative, HBsAg-negative general residents were sex- and age-matched to the 792 subjects. A total of 154 <70-year-old patients without liver cirrhosis (LC) or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) underwent IFN treatment. The survival rate with all-cause death as the endpoint was determined and causes of death were compared.
Results
The 10- and 20-year survival rates of the hepatitis C and general resident groups were 65.4% and 87.8%, and 40.8% and 62.5%, respectively (p < 0.001; hazard risk ratio, 0.444; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.389–0.507). There were 167 liver disease-related deaths and 223 deaths from other causes in the hepatitis C group, and 7 and 451, respectively, in the general resident group. Liver disease-related death accounted for 43.8% and 1.5% of deaths in the hepatitis C and general resident groups (p < 0.0001). The cumulative survival rate of the hepatitis C patients without IFN (n = 328) was significantly lower than the gender- and age-matched general resident group (n = 656) (p < 0.0001) but there was no significant difference between the IFN-treated (n = 154) and general resident groups (n = 308).
Conclusions
In the hepatitis C group, the proportion of liver disease-related death was markedly higher, and the survival rate lower, than the general resident group. Introduction of IFN treatment in <70-year-old patients with hepatitis C without LC or HCC improved the survival rate to a level comparable to that of the general residents.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-139
PMCID: PMC3502559  PMID: 23057417
Hepatitis C virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Prospective cohort study; Interferon; Life expectancy
15.  Oral verrucous carcinoma arising from lichen planus and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in a patient with hepatitis C virus-related liver cirrhosis-hyperinsulinemia and malignant transformation: A case report 
Biomedical Reports  2012;1(1):53-56.
Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a potentially malignant disorder associated with an increased risk of oral cancer. In Japan, the association of OLP with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is well documented. In the present study, a case of oral verrucous carcinoma arising from OLP coexisting vulvo-vaginal-gingival syndrome and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in a patient with HCV-related liver cirrhosis is reported. A 71-year old, non-smoking Japanese woman presented with lesions of OLP affecting the bilateral buccal mucosa, tongue, gingival, palate, oral floor and lower lip. Ten years later, an exophytic mass developed in the mandibular alveolar mucosa, the right buccal mucosa and the right lower lip. Pathological diagnosis confirmed the presence of verrucous carcinoma. However, she developed esophageal rather than oral cancer. The oral cancer was resected surgically three times and the patients underwent radiotherapy. The esophageal cancer was removed by endoscopic submucosal dissection. The risk of carcinogenesis increased as hyperinsulinemia continued. The results suggested that it is necessary to monitor for malignant changes in patients with OLP lesions and HCV infection. In addition, treatment requires the cooperation of various medical specialists, as well as an oral surgeon.
doi:10.3892/br.2012.14
PMCID: PMC3956769  PMID: 24648893
oral lichen planus; oral verrucous carcinoma; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; multiple primary cancers; hepatitis C virus; liver cirrhosis
16.  Analysis of the factors motivating HCV-infected patients to accept interferon therapy 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:470.
Background
The aims of this study were to analyze factors motivating the acceptance of interferon (IFN) therapy and to clarify the prevalence of oral mucosal diseases in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected Japanese patients treated with IFN.
Findings
A total of 94 HCV-infected patients who were admitted to our hospital for IFN therapy were asked questions regarding their motivation to accept IFN therapy and were investigated for the presence of oral lichen planus (OLP) before and during IFN treatment. Recommendation and encouragement from other people were the most common factors motivating the acceptance of IFN therapy (49/94, 52.13%). The other motivators were independent decision (30.85%), economic reasons (5.32%), and others. According to multivariate analysis, three factors – sex (male), retreatment after previous IFN therapy, and independent decision to accept IFN therapy - were associated with patients after curative treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The adjusted odds ratios for these three factors were 26.06, 14.17, and 8.72, respectively. The most common oral mucosal lesions included OLP in 11 cases (11.70%). One patient with OLP had postoperative squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. The rate of sustained virological response (SVR) was 45.45% in cases with OLP and 54.55% in cases without OLP. There were no patients who discontinued IFN therapy because of side effects such as oral mucosal diseases.
Conclusions
We should give full explanation and recommend a course of treatment for a patient to accept IFN therapy. The system to support liver disease as well as oral diseases is also necessary for patient treated for IFN therapy.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-470
PMCID: PMC3500275  PMID: 22932002
Hepatitis C virus; Interferon therapy; Chronic hepatitis C; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Oral lichen planus
17.  Dipeptidyl Peptidase IV Inhibitor Improves Insulin Resistance and Steatosis in a Refractory Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Patient: A Case Report 
Case Reports in Gastroenterology  2012;6(2):538-544.
A 67-year-old Asian woman was referred to Kurume University Hospital due to abnormal liver function tests. She was diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD was treated by diet therapy with medication of metformin and pioglitazone; however, NAFLD did not improve. Subsequently, the patient was administered sitagliptin. Although her energy intake and physical activity did not change, her hemoglobin A1c level was decreased from 7.8 to 6.4% 3 months after treatment. Moreover, her serum insulin level and homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance value were also improved, as was the severity of hepatic steatosis. These findings indicate that sitagliptin may improve insulin resistance and steatosis in patients with refractory NAFLD.
doi:10.1159/000341510
PMCID: PMC3432996  PMID: 22949894
Dipeptidyl peptidase IV; Incretin; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Glucose intolerance; Diabetes
19.  Efficacy and safety of eltrombopag in Japanese patients with chronic liver disease and thrombocytopenia: a randomized, open-label, phase II study 
Journal of Gastroenterology  2012;47(12):1342-1351.
Background
Eltrombopag is an oral thrombopoietin receptor agonist that stimulates thrombopoiesis and shows higher exposure in East Asian patients than in non-Asian patients. We evaluated the pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of eltrombopag in Japanese patients with thrombocytopenia associated with chronic liver disease (CLD).
Methods
Thirty-eight patients with CLD and thrombocytopenia (platelets <50,000/μL) were enrolled in this phase II, open-label, dose-ranging study that consisted of 2 parts. In the first part, 12 patients received 12.5 mg of eltrombopag once daily for 2 weeks. After the evaluation of safety, 26 patients were randomly assigned to receive either 25 or 37.5 mg of eltrombopag once daily for 2 weeks in the second part.
Results
Pharmacokinetics showed that the geometric means of the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and the area under the curve (AUC) in the 12.5 mg group were 3,413 ng/mL and 65,236 ng h/mL, respectively. At week 2, the mean increases from baseline in platelet counts were 24,800, 54,000, and 60,000/μL in the 12.5, 25, and 37.5 mg groups, respectively. The median platelet counts increased within 2 weeks of the beginning of administration in all groups, and remained at the same level throughout the 2-week post-treatment period in the 12.5 mg group, whereas the platelet counts peaked a week after the last treatment in both the 25 and 37.5 mg groups. Most adverse events reported were grade 1 or 2; 2 patients in the 37.5 mg group had drug-related serious adverse events.
Conclusions
Eltrombopag ameliorated thrombocytopenia in Japanese patients with CLD and thrombocytopenia. The recommended dose for these patients is 25 mg daily for 2 weeks.
doi:10.1007/s00535-012-0600-5
PMCID: PMC3523116  PMID: 22674141
Thrombopoietin receptor agonist; Pharmacokinetics; Invasive procedures; Inter-ethnic difference
20.  Motor vehicle accidents: How should cirrhotic patients be managed? 
Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are serious social issues worldwide and driver illness is an important cause of MVAs. Minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) is a complex cognitive dysfunction with attention deficit, which frequently occurs in cirrhotic patients independent of severity of liver disease. Although MHE is known as a risk factor for MVAs, the impact of diagnosis and treatment of MHE on MVA-related societal costs is largely unknown. Recently, Bajaj et al demonstrated valuable findings that the diagnosis of MHE by rapid screening using the inhibitory control test (ICT), and subsequent treatment with lactulose could substantially reduce the societal costs by preventing MVAs. Besides the ICT and lactulose, there are various diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies for MHE. In this commentary, we discussed a current issue of diagnostic tools for MHE, including neuropsychological tests. We also discussed the advantages of the other therapeutic strategies for MHE, such as intake of a regular breakfast and coffee, and supplementation with zinc and branched chain amino acids, on the MVA-related societal costs.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i21.2597
PMCID: PMC3369995  PMID: 22690067
Traffic accident; Subclinical hepatic encephalopathy; Coffee; Zinc; Branched chain amino acids
21.  A retrospective case-control study of hepatitis C virus infection and oral lichen planus in Japan: association study with mutations in the core and NS5A region of hepatitis C virus 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:31.
Background
The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Japanese patients with oral lichen planus and identify the impact of amino acid (aa) substitutions in the HCV core region and IFN-sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) of nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) associated with lichen planus.
Methods
In this retrospective study, 59 patients (group 1-A) with oral lichen planus among 226 consecutive patients who visited our hospital and 85 individuals (group 1-B, controls) with normal oral mucosa were investigated for the presence of liver disease and HCV infection. Risk factors for the presence of oral lichen planus were assessed by logistic regression analysis. We compared aa substitutions in the HCV core region (70 and/or 91) and ISDR of NS5A of 12 patients with oral lichen planus (group 2-A) and 7 patients who did not have oral lichen planus (group 2-B) among patients (high viral loads, genotype 1b) who received interferon (IFN) therapy in group1-A.
Results
The prevalence of anti-HCV and HCV RNA was 67.80% (40/59) and 59.32% (35/59), respectively, in group 1-A and 31.76% (27/85) and 16.47% (14/85), respectively, in group 1-B. The prevalence of anti-HCV (P < 0.0001) and HCV RNA (P < 0.0001) in group 1-A was significantly higher than those in group 1-B. According to multivariate analysis, three factors - positivity for HCV RNA, low albumin level (< 4.0 g/dL), and history of smoking - were associated with the development of oral lichen planus. The adjusted odds ratios for these three factors were 6.58, 3.53 and 2.58, respectively, and each was statistically significant. No significant differences in viral factors, such as aa substitutions in the core region and ISDR of NS5A, were detected between the two groups (groups 2-A and -B).
Conclusion
We observed a high prevalence of HCV infection in patients with oral lichen planus. Longstanding HCV infection, hypoalbuminemia, and smoking were significant risk factors for the presence of oral lichen planus in patients. It is advisable for Japanese patients with lichen planus to be tested for HCV infection during medical examination.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-31
PMCID: PMC3364160  PMID: 22490000
22.  Quantification of Hepatic Iron Concentration in Chronic Viral Hepatitis: Usefulness of T2-weighted Single-Shot Spin-Echo Echo-Planar MR Imaging 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33868.
Objective
To investigate the usefulness of single-shot spin-echo echo-planar imaging (SSEPI) sequence for quantifying mild degree of hepatic iron stores in patients with viral hepatitis.
Methods
This retrospective study included 34 patients with chronic viral hepatitis/cirrhosis who had undergone histological investigation and magnetic resonance imaging with T2-weighted gradient-recalled echo sequence (T2-GRE) and diffusion-weighted SSEPI sequence with b-factors of 0 s/mm2 (T2-EPI), 500 s/mm2 (DW-EPI-500), and 1000 s/mm2 (DW-EPI-1000).
The correlation between the liver-to-muscle signal intensity ratio, which was generated by regions of interest placed in the liver and paraspinous muscles of each sequence image, and the hepatic iron concentration (µmol/g dry liver), which was assessed by spectrophotometry, was analyzed by linear regression using a spline model. Akaike information criterion (AIC) was used to select the optimal model.
Results
Mean ± standard deviation of the hepatic iron concentration quantified by spectrophotometry was 24.6±16.4 (range, 5.5 to 83.2) µmol/g dry liver. DW-EPI correlated more closely with hepatic iron concentration than T2-GRE (R square values: 0.75 for T2-EPI, 0.69 for DW-EPI-500, 0.62 for DW-EPI-1000, and 0.61 for T2-GRE, respectively, all P<0.0001). Using the AIC, the regression model for T2-EPI generated by spline model was optimal because of lowest cross validation error.
Conclusion
T2-EPI was sensitive to hepatic iron, and might be a more useful sequence for quantifying mild degree of hepatic iron stores in patients with chronic viral hepatitis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033868
PMCID: PMC3306306  PMID: 22439008
23.  A randomized phase II trial of intra-arterial chemotherapy using SM-11355 (Miriplatin) for hepatocellular carcinoma 
Investigational New Drugs  2011;30(5):2015-2025.
Background SM-11355 is a platinum complex developed to treat hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) via administration into the hepatic artery as a sustained-release suspension in iodized oil. We conducted a multicenter phase II trial in patients with HCC to evaluate the efficacy and safety of SM-11355, using a Zinostatin stimalamer suspension in iodized oil as a reference. Methods Patients with unresectable HCC were randomized 2:1 to receive administration of the SM-11355 or Zinostatin stimalamer suspension into the hepatic artery. A second injection was given 4–12 weeks later. Efficacy was evaluated by CT 3 months after treatment and categorized as therapeutic effect (TE) V to I, where TE V was defined as disappearance or 100% necrosis of all treated tumors. Results A total of 122 patients were evaluated for efficacy and toxicity (SM-11355, n = 83; Zinostatin stimalamer, n = 39). Baseline characteristics were similar in the two groups. The TE V rates were 26.5% (22/83) and 17.9% (7/39) in the SM-11355 and Zinostatin stimalamer groups, respectively. In the SM-11355 group,the most frequent drug-related adverse events (AEs) of ≥ grade 3 were elevated AST, elevated ALT, thrombocytopenia, and hyperbilirubinemia. The AEs with the largest difference between the two groups (SM-11355 vs. Zinostatin stimalamer) were hepatic vascular injury (0 vs. 48.4%) and eosinophilia (84.3 vs. 41.0%). The 2-year and 3-year survival rates were 75.9% vs. 70.3% and 58.4% vs. 48.7%, respectively. Conclusions The results suggest that SM-11355 in iodized oil has similar efficacy to Zinostatin stimalamer and that repeated dosing of SM-11355 is possible without hepatic vascular injury in cases of relapse.
doi:10.1007/s10637-011-9776-4
PMCID: PMC3432786  PMID: 22187203
Iodized oil; MIRIPLA; Liver cancer; Suspension; Parallel study
24.  Total and High Molecular Weight Adiponectin and Hepatocellular Carcinoma with HCV Infection 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e26840.
Background
Adiponectin is shown to be inversely associated with development and progression of various cancers. We evaluated whether adiponectin level was associated with the prevalence and histological grade of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and liver fibrosis in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Methods
A case-control study was conducted on 97 HCC patients (cases) and 97 patients (controls) matched for sex, Child-Pugh grade and platelet count in patients with HCV infection. The serum total and high molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and examined in their association with the prevalence of HCC. In addition, the relationship between these adiponectin levels and body mass index (BMI), progression of liver fibrosis, and histological grade of HCC was also evaluated. Liver fibrosis was assessed using the aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (APRI).
Results
There were no significant differences in the serum total and HMW adiponectin levels between cases and controls. Moreover, there were no inverse associations between serum total and HMW adiponectin levels and BMI in both cases and controls. On the other hand, serum total and HMW adiponectin levels are positively correlated with APRI in both cases (r = 0.491, P<0.001 and r = 0.485, P<0.001, respectively) and controls (r = 0.482, P<0.001 and r = 0.476, P<0.001, respectively). Interestingly, lower serum total (OR 11.76, 95% CI: 2.97–46.66 [P<0.001]) and HMW (OR 10.24, CI: 2.80–37.40 [P<0.001] adiponectin levels were independent risk factors of worse histological grade of HCC.
Conclusions
Our results suggested that serum total and HMW adiponectin levels were predictors of liver fibrosis, but not prevalence of HCC in patients with HCV infection. Moreover, low these adiponectin levels were significantly associated with worse histological grades.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026840
PMCID: PMC3215705  PMID: 22110596
25.  Adiponectin suppresses endoplasmic reticulum stress in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis 
In this study, we examined whether adiponectin suppresses endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) using male transgenic mice expressing nSREBP-1c in adipose tissue, nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice expressing human adiponectin in the liver, and wild-type male mice as the control. Histological findings similar to those observed in liver specimens from patients with NASH were observed in the livers from the nSREBP-1c transgenic mice at 30 weeks of age. By contrast, the NASH-like liver histology was markedly attenuated in age-matched nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice. The nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice showed human adiponectin production in the liver and a restored circulating human adiponectin level. Human adiponectin messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) expression in the liver was identified in the nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice, but adiponectin receptor 1 and 2 mRNA expression in the liver was normal. TNFα mRNA was decreased in the liver of the nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice compared with the nSREBP-1c transgenic mice. The protein expressions of X-box-binding protein-1, activating transcription factor 4, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, TNFα and NFκB were down-regulated in liver tissues from the nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice. Mouse adiponectin and activating transcription factor 6 expressions were almost the same in the three groups. Post-load plasma glucose levels were significantly lower in the nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice compared with the nSREBP-1c transgenic mice. These results indicate that adiponectin expressed in the liver suppresses ER stress and attenuates hepatic steatosis, inflammation and insulin resistance in NASH. Adiponectin may open the way to novel therapies for human NASH.
doi:10.3892/etm.2011.348
PMCID: PMC3440812  PMID: 22977616
nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; adiponectin; endoplasmic reticulum stress

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