Long-term Survival of a Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patient Treated by Korean Medicine Combined with Western Therapy: a Case Report

  • Kang, Ji-Young (Department of Internal Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Daejeon University) ;
  • Kim, Jun-Young (Department of Internal Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Daejeon University) ;
  • Son, Chang-Gue (Department of Internal Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Daejeon University) ;
  • Cho, Jung-Hyo (Department of Internal Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Daejeon University)
  • Received : 2013.11.12
  • Accepted : 2013.12.17
  • Published : 2013.12.30


Objectives: Hepatocellular carcinoma patients have a poor prognosis and survival beyond 5 years is very rare in spite of western treatment. We report a case of long-term survival of a hepatocellular carcinoma patient treated by Korean medicine combined with western therapy. Methods: The treatment was provided from November 2004 to July 2012. Herbal medicine, acupuncture and moxibustion treatment were used as main treatment methods. We prescribed herbal medicines three times a day and performed acupuncture and moxibustion an average of 2-3 times a week. Clinical laboratory tests were performed each month and a CT scan was carried out 13 times during the treatment period. In order to evaluate the disease status, we checked the patient's abdominal circumference, weight change and subjective symptoms regularly. Results: During treatment, subjective symptoms of the patient and state of ascites due to hepatocellular carcinoma were relatively stable. The progress of hepatocellular carcinoma was gradual without worsening rapidly. Since the initial diagnosis with hepatocellular carcinoma, the patient survived for a further 7 years and 9 months treated by Korean medicine combined with western treatment. Conclusions: According to the above results, this case indicates that Korean medical treatment combined with western therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma patients has synergistic effects of prolonged survival, relief of symptoms and management of complications.



  1. EL-Serag HB. Hepatocellular carcinoma: an epidemiologic view. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2002;35:S72-S78.
  2. Parkin DM, Pisani P, Ferlay J. Estimates of the worldwide incidence of 25 major cancers in 1990. Int J Cancer. 1999;80:827-841.<827::AID-IJC6>3.0.CO;2-P
  3. Jordi B, Morris S. Management of Hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatology. 2005;42:1208-1236.
  4. Fan ST, Lo CM, Liu CL, Lam CM, Yuen WK, Yeung C, et al. Hepatectomy for hepatocellular carcinoma: Toward zero hospital deaths. Ann Surg. 1999;229:322-30.
  5. Nagasue N, Uchida M, Makino Y, Takemoto Y, Yamanoi A, Hayashi T, et al. Incidence and factors associated with intrahepatic recurrence following resection of hepatocellular carcinoma.Gastroenterology. 1993;105:488-494.
  6. Llovet JM, Ricci S, Mazzaferro V, Hilgard P, Gane E, Blanc JF, et al. Sorafenib in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. N Engl J Med. 2008;359:378-390.
  7. Yeung YP, Lo CM, Liu CL, Wong BC, Fan ST, Wong J. Natural history of untreated nonsurgical hepatocellular carcinoma. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005;100(9):1995-2004.
  8. Pawarode A, Voravud N, Striuranpong V, Kullavanijaya P, Patt YZ. Natural history of untreated primary hepatocellular carcinoma: a retrospective study of 157 patients. Am J Clin Oncol. 1998; 21:386-391.
  9. Makuuchi M, Kokudo N. Clinical practice guidelines for hepatocellular carcinoma: the first evidence based guidelines in Japan. World J Gastroenterol. 2006;12(5):828-829.
  10. Park HY, Cho JH, Son CG, Cho CK. Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of the submandible in a 56-year-old woman. J Korean Orient Int Med. 2005:26(4):941-945.
  11. Kim KS. Yoo HS. Jung TY. Lee YW. Cho CK. Case series of advanced or metastatic gallbladder cancer patients treated with HangAm-Dan. J Korean Orient Int Med. 2010:31(3):667-74.
  12. Yoo HS, Kim SH, Lee YW, Cho CK, Lee KH. Two Cases of Endometrial Cancer Treated with Palliative Herbal Medication Hangam-dan (HAD). J Korean Oriental Med. 2007:8(4):176-180.
  13. Garrison RN, Kaelin LD, Galloway RH, Heuser LS. Malignant ascites. Clinical and experimental observations. Ann Surg. 1986;203:644-651.
  14. Kim SW, Lee SH, Roh BJ, Kim JC, Park SS, Lee DH. Prognostic factors affecting survival rate in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma treated by transcatheter arterial chemoembolization. CMH. 2000;6(3):311-320.