About AHCC Trials Group
The Asia-Pacific Hepatocellular Carcinoma (AHCC) Trials Group is a collaborative research group founded in 1997 by clinicians from major medical centres in the Asia-Pacific region. These clinicians share a common goal of seeking novel treatments for HCC and recognised the urgency and necessity for collaboration so that more efficacious therapies can be developed for the large number of HCC patients. Together with the strong alliance formed with both industry and academia, the mission of the AHCC network is to conduct preventive and therapeutic trials in HCC, carry out translational research in this field and develop training and educational programs pertaining to HCC.
The first randomised controlled trial of the group was initiated by the Singapore General Hospital as a single-centre prospective HCC clinical trial, which went on to expand rapidly into a multi-centre trial in the Asia-Pacific region. The Trials Group has since completed 8 prospective, multi-centre clinical studies in HCC that has involved more than 50 participating centres from 17 countries and has enrolled more than 4,000 patients. New trials are underway, all with a common pursuit of seeking new efficacious treatments for HCC.
While Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the 7th most common cancer in the world and afflicts almost a million people yearly, it is the 4th most important cause of cancer death. There is great geographical variation in the distribution of HCC with 80% of the burden found in the Asia-Pacific making the 3rd most common cancer in the region. While surgical resection (and in some cases, liver transplantation) offers patients with HCC the most consistent and significant survival advantage, only around 20% of these patients are diagnosed early enough to be eligible for surgical procedures as a curative therapy due to the low sensitivity of current screening methods.
Only about 30% of patients will intermediate/ locally advanced HCC may benefit from existing therapies that prolong life but the outcome and survival of the remaining patients remains grave. Even with surgical resection, long term survival of HCC patients has remained unsatisfactory due to recurrent carcinoma and progressive liver disease. Chemoprevention in patients at high risk for HCC has also not been clearly established. There is thus an urgent need for more clinical trials in HCC (palliative, adjuvant and chemoprevention) to develop new and efficacious therapies, especially in parts of the world where the disease burden is highest. Clinical studies are required to change and actualise Precision Oncology in HCC, thereby improving patient outcomes.