eISSN: 1897-4309
ISSN: 1428-2526
Contemporary Oncology/Współczesna Onkologia
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vol. 22
Review paper

Efficacy and safety of megestrol in the management of hepatocellular carcinoma: a systematic review of the literature

Prashanth Rawla, Krishna Chaitanya Thandra, Anantha Vellipuram, Citra Dewi Mohd Ali

Contemp Oncol (Pozn) 2018; 22 (4): 209-214
Online publish date: 2018/12/31
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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading causes of cancer death worldwide. There is as yet no standard therapy for inoperable HCC. We aimed to systematically review all health-related evidence regarding the effectiveness and safety of megestrol in HCC patients.

Material and methods
We conducted a systematic computerised search in PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Embase, and Cochrane CENTRAL. All original human studies reporting the efficacy of megestrol in HCC patients were included in our review.

Six studies including 357 patients were finally eligible. The overall mean survival time of 87 megestrol-treated patients, was 9.187 (95% CI 1.134–17.239) months. Eight patients had tumour size enlargement, and eight patients had tumour size reduction. From three studies including 76 patients, 42 patients reported having improvement of appetite and food intake after receiving megestrol. Diverse adverse events were noticed between studies; however, they were tolerable in most of the studies.

To summarise, no conclusive evidence should be declared regarding the effectiveness of megestrol in patients with inoperable HCC. However, previous studies have shown promising results at the level of prolonging the survival rate, tumour size reduction, and improving the quality of life. Therefore, we recommend that future research studies must examine the role of megestrol in large-population, randomised studies.


megestrol, Megace, hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC, progestin, oestrogen receptor, hormonal therapy

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