29 Second, there is the issue of contamination (i.e., members of the control group gets screening outside the trial). Because many of these patients have cirrhosis, they will be getting ultrasounds (US) for other reasons, even in the control group. Given the publicity around the study, RGFP966 some patients in the
control group might decide to get US done anyway. It will also be very difficult to standardize treatment. All of these factors mitigate against the successful conclusion of any RCT of screening for HCC. The gastrointestinal/hepatology community accepts the need for screening, because when at-risk patients do not undergo screening, they present with symptoms late in the course of their HCC and they die from their cancer within MK-1775 mouse a few weeks to months in almost 100% of cases. In contrast, early detection of HCC is associated with a high rate of cure that may, under the best of circumstances, reach 90%. Liver cancer is also different from many other cancers, in that there is no curative treatment for intermediate- or advanced-stage tumors. Other cancers that have progressed to more advanced stages may respond to adjuvant chemotherapy or radiation. In contrast, for HCC, neither chemotherapy nor radiation for late-stage disease will reduce mortality. However, there are effective treatments
for early-stage disease. Resection, transplantation, and local ablation of small lesions are potentially curative therapies and thus highly likely to lead to reduced mortality. Although, on a population basis, it remains to be demonstrated that these treatments will reduce mortality, it is hard to imagine that a 90% cure rate, such as is achievable with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of lesions <2 cm in diameter,30 a 30% long-term cure rate with resection,31, 32 and a 70%-80% cure rate this website with transplantation33, 34 will not translate into
a decrease in overall HCC-related mortality, compared to an unscreened group. Discussions around screening rightly take into account that screening is not an entirely benign process, and that some patients who are labeled as having cancer because of a false-positive screening test result will be worse off than if they had not had screening at all. If screening is not effective, then there will be harms from applying screening, including unnecessary liver biopsies and surgeries, and unnecessary psychological harm. On the other hand, one must also consider the harms that may come from not applying screening when screening is indeed effective, even though the benefit has still be demonstrated. These include that almost all patients will die of their disease. In a sense, the issue of harms from screening revolves around overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis likely occurs with most cancer screening programs, but in the case of HCC, the risk of this is felt to be small.