Pain Linked With Poorer Prognosis in Liver Cancer

Early pain may mean worse tumor characteristics, shorter survival in hepatocellular carcinoma

FRIDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Pain at presentation may indicate a worse prognosis for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to research published in the October issue of the Journal of Pain.

Brian I. Carr, M.D., and Lynette A. Pujol, Ph.D., of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, examined a large HCC database for the incidence of pain in patients with unresectable cancer to determine prognostic and clinical correlates.

The researchers found 760 patients with pain and 2,657 without pain, and determined that those with pain at presentation had a worse prognosis and more adverse tumor characteristics than those who did not have pain. Patients with pain at presentation had shorter survival, larger tumors, an increased incidence of portal vein thrombosis, and higher levels of alpha fetoprotein.

"This article presents one of the first looks at correlates of pain and survival in HCC. Results of this study could inform future research and clinical investigations regarding the importance of pain at presentation in patients with HCC, which impacts qualify of life and survival," the authors write.

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