Clinical trial studies antibiotic therapy for fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, a rare liver cancer

Liver anatomy

Anatomy of the liver
Photo courtesy of NCI Visuals Online

Patients with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, a rare liver cancer, that cannot be treated surgically may be eligible to participate in a new clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center.

Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FLC) is a rare liver cancer that usually grows in teens and young adults. Under the microscope, FLC appears in the liver as fibrous bands in a plate-like (lamellar) pattern. Unresectable FLC usually does not improve with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Tim F. Greten, M.D., Deputy Chief of the Thoracic and GI Malignancies Branch, is leading a study that tests the theory that certain bacteria in the gut may influence the development of FLC. Patients in this study will receive oral vancomycin, an antibiotic. When taken by mouth, vancomycin stays in the intestines where it stops the growth of certain bacteria. In preclinical studies, vancomycin altered gut bacteria, which led to an increase in cancer-fighting cells expressed in the liver. Researchers want to see if vancomycin is safe for humans at a dose higher than that given for a bacterial infection, with no intolerable side effects, and whether it has a beneficial effect on unresectable FLC.

To learn more about this trial, visit our website. identifier: NCT04025567
Official Title: Phase II Study of Oral Vancomycin in Patients With Unresectable Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma (FLC)

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Summary Posted: Fri, 10/25/2019