The long term efficacy of glycyrrhizin in chronic hepatitis C patients.
Cancer. 1997 Apr 15;79(8):1494-500. PMID: 9118029
BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) occurs in patients with hepatitis C virus-RNA positive chronic liver disease. It is important to prevent HCC with drug administration. METHODS: A retrospective study was undertaken to evaluate the long term preventive effect of Stronger Neo-Minophagen C (SNMC) on HCC development. SNMC is a Japanese medicine that is commonly administered to patients with chronic hepatitis C to improve the serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level. Of 453 patients diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C retrospectively in the study hospital between January 1979 and April 1984, 84 patients (Group A) had been treated with SNMC; SNMC was given at a dose of 100 mL daily for 8 weeks, then 2-7 times a week for 2-16 years (median, 10.1 years). Another group of 109 patients (Group B) could not be treated with SNMC or interferon for a long period of time (median, 9.2 years) and were given other herbal medicine (such as vitamin K). The patients were retrospectively monitored, and the cumulative incidence of HCC and risk factors for HCC were examined. RESULTS: The 10th-year rates of cumulative HCC incidence for Groups A and B were 7% and 12%, respectively, and the 15th-year rates were 12% and 25%. By Cox regression analysis, the relative risk of HCC incidence in patients not treated with SNMC (Group B) was 2.49 compared with that of patients treated with SNMC (Group A). CONCLUSIONS: In this study, long term administration of SNMC in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C was effective in preventing liver carcinogenesis.