According to a new study published in the Cancer journal, colchicine, an anti-inflammatory drug commonly used to treat gout, may be able to prevent liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC) in patients with hepatitis virus-related end-stage liver disease. Out of 186 patients with cirrhosis of the liver due to viral disease, 116 were treated with colchicine.
They found that only about one in ten (9 percent) of patients treated with colchicine developed HCC compared to more than one in four (29 percent) of untreated cirrhotic patients. In addition, if subjects developed HCC, patients who were treated with colchicine developed HCC later than those not treated with the drug. Colchicine chemoprevention delayed the diagnosis of HCC after cirrhosis onset by an average 72 months (222 months compared to 150 months). Furthermore, colchicine-treated patients survived longer than untreated patients.