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Immunotherapy with Active Hemicellulose Compound (AHCC)
in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients
S Takai, Y Kamiyama, Y. Matsui, H. Inut, S. Satoi, A, Imarmura, K, Nakamura, H. Nakamoto,
S. Uetsuji, First Department of Surgery, Kansai Medical University
and T. Kanazawa, B. Sun, Anino Up Chemical Co., LTD. Sapporro, Osaka, Japan.
Many attempts have been made to stimulate the immune system for cancer treatment. Several biological response modifiers ( BRMs) such as BCG, Picibanil, PSK, Interferon and Interleukin-2, have been developed and used in patients. Active hemicellulose compound (AHCC), a BRM newly developed in Japan, is an extract obtained from several kinds of mushrooms ( Basidiomyceles) which are cultured in a liquid medium. It contains an activated oligosaccharide (average molecular weight about 5000 kD) which boosts the immune system. In this study, we started to evaluate the clinical effect of AHCC in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients.

One hundred and ten patients with histologically proven HCC were included in this study. They underwent macroscopically curative resection of the liver. In 27 patients, the AHCC (3 g/day) was given orally after surgery (group A). The other 83 patients served as control (group B). The non-recurrent rates and survival rates of the two groups were compared. The biochemical parameters (the counts of red blood cells, white blood cells and lymphocytes, ALT, ChE, total protein, albumin and a-fetoprotein etc.) were estimated periodically.

There were no significant differences in distribution of age, sex, stage and blood loss during surgery between the two groups. The survival rates in group A were significantly higher than those in group B (100% vs. 83.8% at one year and 100% vs. 73.8% at two years after surgery respectively). The disease-free survival rates in group A were significantly higher than those in group B (93.8% vs. 61.5% at one year and 93.8% vs. 47% at two years after surgery, respectively). Although white blood cell count did not change remarkably in group A, lymphocyte count significantly increased at 6 months, the red blood cell count also increased, and there was a significant increase in ChE at 3 and 6 months after surgery.

This retrospective study suggests that postoperative AHCC intake has beneficial effects in HCC patients. Further detailed studies are required to elucidate the mechanism of AHCC effect.

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