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Abstract  Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients have a high risk of recurrence within 5 years of hepatic resection and suitable long-term maintenance therapy is required. An open-ended controlled trial on 30 HBsAg positive Child Pugh's grade A cirrhotic patients was started in September 1986 using Wellferon (natural lymphoblastoid alpha interferon). Ten patients had standard adriamycin and mitomycin C monthly for 6 months, then discontinued when the course was completed. Twenty other patients had this regime, plus the addition of Wellferon given at 3 MU i.m. daily for 10 days. No HCC recurrence was observed in the interferon group. Followed to 14 years, 11 of the interferon-treated patients are still well and HCC free, whereas none of the chemotherapy patients are alive. High incidence of recurrence occurred in those who discontinued interferon (IFN), reduced the dose, or took the scheduled dose, but at longer intervals of more than 3 months. Wellferon, a natural α-IFN has potent inhibitory effects and reduces the risk of HCC development. It is a suitable agent for long-term maintenance prophylactic therapy for high-risk resected HBsAg positive HCC patients.

© 2002 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd