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IN THE past, radiation and chemotherapy have not been very effective in treating nonresectable cancers of the liver. However, novel ways of using radiation and chemotherapy to destroy these and some other solid tumors are showing promise in a number of phase I clinical trials.
With more than 1 million new cases diagnosed annually worldwide, hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the most common human malignancies. It is also one of the most lethal cancers with a fatality rate higher than 94%. The liver is also a common site for metastasis of colorectal and other cancers.
Complete surgical resection provides the best chance for curing these cancers. However, liver tumors usually are not detected until they are too massive or too diffuse for resection. More than 75% of such tumors are not resectable at the time of surgery. Conventional irradiation and chemotherapy for patients with nonresectable primary liver cancer produce dismal
Skolnick AA. Novel Treatments for Liver Cancer and Other Solid Tumors Show Early Promise. JAMA. 1994;271(23):1813-1814. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510470017005