New research on patients with intermediate hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have undergone conventional transarterial chemoembolization (cTACE) suggests that the duration of a response to a treatment, rather than the robustness of the response, may be a better predictor of overall survival. The study was published in JAMA Network Open.

This novel surrogate end point, dubbed sustained response duration (SRD), was defined as the time between when a complete response (CR), partial response (PR), or stable disease is first observed and the date progressive disease occurs after cTACE.

Although a radiological CR is generally believed to be a good measure of treatment efficacy, the investigators explained that following cTACE in HCC, relapse can still happen. The theory about why this may occur is based on the belief that lingering viable tumor cells that appear to be dead are actually just in a state of shock and, as a result, the cells can prompt disease recurrence.

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