The promise of clinical interventions for hepatocellular carcinoma from the west to mainland China
Objective: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) presents a major health problem with its steadily increasing incidence in Western countries, and persistent high fatality rates worldwide. The well-recognized complexity and toxicity of its treatment as well as inadequate care and limited resources in mainland China exacerbate the difficulty of maintaining quality of remaining life of patients living with this illness. The goal of this comprehensive literature review was to identify promising clinical interventions for improving quality of life (QOL) of people with advanced HCC in mainland China. Method: A comprehensive literature review was performed in China Academic Journals (CAJ), Cochrane, and PubMed databases. The review was confined to studies of randomized controlled trials (RCT) for adults, in Chinese and English, from 1980 to 2012. Results: A total of 676 studies in Chinese and 391 studies in English were identified. Eighteen RCTs were selected for the final review, among which three were conducted in mainland China. Significance of results: Nurse-led home-based comprehensive interventions using a collaborative care approach addressing multiple dimensions of QOL show promise for enhancing clinical outcomes for people with advanced HCC in mainland China. Education and psychosocial support combined with symptom management early in the illness trajectory and ongoing close attention to physical symptoms, emotional distress, as well as spiritual well-being are crucial for maintaining QOL of people with advanced HCC. Telephone monitoring appears to be a feasible way in rural as well as urban areas. Families are advised to be part of overall interventions. It is warranted that promising interventions aiming at improving QOL for advanced cancer patients reported in Western literature be further tested in mainland China.