Over the past few months, the liver tumors have been at the centre of the scientific debate, thanks to three international events which were attended by Dr. Lorenza Rimassa, Deputy Head of the Medical Oncology Unit and Head of the Gastroenteric Apparatus Cancer section of Humanitas.

Several topics were discussed, with particular attention to the clinical studies and to the transfer of results from the studies to clinical practice, to the benefit of the patient.

Thanks to the contribution of Dr. Rimassa, we can see more closely the issues at the heart of her interventions.

AASLD 2019 Emerging Topic Conference, Atlanta: the role of biopsy in clinical studies of advanced hepatocarcinoma
On March 22-23, Dr. Rimassa was invited to Atlanta as a speaker at a course held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Her presentation focused on the role of biopsy in clinical studies of advanced hepatocarcinoma.

“The execution of the biopsy is not so common in the case of hepatocarcinoma because the diagnosis can also be made on a radiological basis. However, the biopsy data is important because it allows not only to make a correct diagnosis, but also to characterize the disease in order to identify biomarkers capable of defining the prognosis or predict the response to therapies. In the case of hepatocarcinoma, in fact, we do not have molecular markers that can identify and select the different subgroups of patients. If this goal can be achieved in the future and biomarkers play a role in the clinical decision-making process, the biopsy should become a routine examination, an integral part of the standard of care,” the specialist stressed.

EASL ILC 2019, Vienna: local-regional and systemic therapy in hepatocarcinoma and therapies for liver cancer
The International Liver Congress, the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) annual congress dedicated to all liver diseases (such as steatosis, hepatitis, cirrhosis), including oncological diseases, was held in Vienna from 14 to 16 April.

Dr. Rimassa participated as an “expert” in a “Breakfast Morning Round” entitled “HCC Therapy: When to use Locoregional or Systemic Therapy and when to Switch”. A younger colleague, called young investigator, introduced clinical cases that were commented and discussed by some experts. The focus was the therapy of hepatocarcinoma in particular when to resort to locoregional therapy and when to the systemic and when to switch from the first to the second: “a fundamental step – says the specialist – because it allows you to optimize the therapeutic result”.

The doctor then became the guide during a Poster Tour entitled “Liver tumors: therapy”. Congress participants submit abstracts of their work divided into areas and selected from them. Among the posters on display, Dr. Rimassa selected three of them and took the participants interested into viewing them, by discussing their work together and with the authors of the posters themselves. The topics covered included the importance of the transition at the appropriate time from locoregional to systemic therapy in patients with hepatocarcinoma and pharmacological treatment in patients with hepatocarcinoma and simultaneously in dialysis for chronic renal failure: a project in which Humanitas also participated.