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Aspirin Use May Improve Liver Function After Embolization for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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Key Points

  • Among patients with hepatocellular carcinoma taking aspirin at the time of transarterial embolization, bilirubin level was lower 1 day, 1 month, and 1 year postembolization.
  • Aspirin use indicated no disparity in initial response rate, median time to disease progression, initial site of progression, or percentage of patients dying with disease progression.
  • Median overall survival after transarterial embolization for hepatocellular carcinoma was longer in the cohort of patients taking aspirin.

According to research published by Boas et al in the American Journal of Roentgenology, aspirin therapy is associated with improved liver function test results and survival after transarterial embolization for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Findings

In a retrospective review of 304 patients, among the 42 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma taking aspirin at the time of transarterial embolization, bilirubin level was lower 1 day (0.9 vs 1.3, P < .001), 1 month (0.9 vs 1.2, P = .048), and 1 year (0.8 vs 1.0, P = .021) postembolization.

“Although the differences in liver function test results in the groups taking and not taking aspirin were small, standard biochemical liver function tests are insensitive to early cirrhotic changes,” said study author F. Edward Boas, MD, PhD.

Dr. Boas also noted, “Small changes in biochemical liver function test results might underestimate the degree of liver injury after embolization.”

Whereas aspirin use indicated no disparity in initial response rate (88% vs 90% complete response or partial response, P = .59), median time to disease progression (6.2 vs 5.2 months, P = .42), initial site of progression (P = .77), or percentage of patients dying with disease progression (88% vs 89%, P = 1.00), median overall survival after transarterial embolization for hepatocellular carcinoma was longer in the cohort of patients taking aspirin (57 vs 23 months, P = .008).

Despite comparable liver function, American Joint Committee on Cancer stage, comorbidities, and other clinical characteristics before embolization in both groups, because the study was retrospective, Dr. Boas acknowledged that a confounding variable may account for the improved survival among patients taking aspirin.

The researchers concluded, “Aspirin use is associated with improved liver function test results and survival after transarterial embolization for hepatocellular carcinoma. It is not associated with differences in response or time to progression.”

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit ajronline.org.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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