|Many attempts have been made to stimulate the immune
system for cancer treatment. Although several biological response modifiers have
been developed such as BCG. Picibanil. PSK, interferon and interIeukin-2, the
clinical efficacy of the substances has not been clearly elucidated. Active Hexose
Correlated Compound (AHCC) is a newly developed biological response modifier.
It is an extract of Basidiomycetes which is obtained by hybridization or several
types of mushrooms. This study was initiated to evaluate the preventive effect
of AHCC on the recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma patients after surgical
In this study, 121 patients with histologically proven hepatocellular carcinoma
were included. All of the patients underwent macroscopically curative resection
of a 1iver tumor. In 38 patients, AHCC (3-6g/day) was administered orally after
surgery (group A) and 18 patients began to take AHCC after recurrences were verified
(group B). The other 65 patients served as controls (group C). The longest follow
up periods were 39, 65 and 56 months for groups A, B and C respectively.
There were no significant differences between the three groups in the distribution
of age, gender, clinical stage, hepatitis type B and/or C viral infection, amount
of bleeding during surgery and resection volumes of the liver. The survival rate
in group A was significantly higher than that in group C. The disease-free survival
rate in group A was also significantly higher than that in groups B and C. One
year after surgery, the serum levels of tumor markers (a.fetoprotein and PIVKA
II) in group A were significantly lower than those in groups Band C.
This retrospective study suggests that AHCC intake has a preventive effect in
postoperative hepatocellular carcinoma patients. Further detailed studies are
needed to elucidate the mechanism of the effect of AHCC.