Patients with alveolar echinococcosis of the liver (AEL) can be cured by complete excision of the lesions; however, it is not always completely resectable in advanced cases. Recently, benzimidazole-type drugs have been reported to be effective in nonresectable AEL. One hundred fifty-two patients with AEL have been surgically treated in our institution since 1937. Our clinical trial with albendazole, one of the benzimidazole carbamates, has included 26 cases of AE since September 1988, each of whom had undergone an operation. Complete resection was performed in only six cases. Evaluation of response to the treatment was possible in 20 cases. A favorable response to albendazole, such as decreases in the size of the lesions, changes in cyst morphology, and amelioration in clinical symptoms or signs, was achieved in 11 (55%) cases. These favorable responses were also seen in cases of noncurative resection and palliative operation. The cumulative survival rate of the patients was 87%, 15 years after the operation. A complete response was achieved in one case; the residual lesion in the liver completely disappeared on the computed tomography image 3.5 years after noncurative surgery. Palliative or mass reduction surgery combined with albendazole therapy may be a strategy for advanced disease, especially when complete resection might result in significant morbidity or mortality.
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