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Abstract

Although various types of treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have been tried, the prognosis remains dismal, especially in patients with advanced stage of the disease. Somatostatin analogues exert antitumor effects. HCC have been shown to exhibit somatostatin receptors. The present randomized placebo-controlled study aimed at examining the efficacy of long-acting octreotide (Sandostatin LAR) for the treatment of advanced HCC. Seventy patients were randomized to receive a 2-week course of 250 μg short-acting octreotide twice daily followed by Sandostatin LAR 30 mg injection once every 4 weeks for 6 doses (n = 35) or placebo (control group) (n = 35). The clinical and laboratory parameters were monitored. There was no difference in the cumulative survival between the Sandostatin LAR-treated group compared with the control group [median survival 1.93 months vs. 1.97 months, respectively, P = NS (log-rank test)]. There was no tumor regression and no reduction of α-fetoprotein (AFP) levels in patients receiving Sandostatin LAR treatment. There was no improvement of quality of life assessed by Karnofsky performance score. In conclusion, Sandostatin LAR monotherapy did not have survival benefit in our selected group of patients with advanced HCC. Further studies should be performed in patients with less advanced disease and/or different etiology to evaluate its benefit.