Some children with liver cancer may need less chemotherapy than is typically used to treat the disease, according to results from a phase 3 clinical trial. The study, led by the NCI-supported Children’s Oncology Group, included children and infants with the most common type of childhood liver cancer, hepatoblastoma, whose tumors had been surgically removed when the disease was diagnosed. Such patients subsequently receive chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells. Liver cancer is rare in children, and only about one-third of these patients have tumors that can be removed surgically at the time of diagnosis. Approximately 90% of children whose tumors are removed at diagnosis and who receive chemotherapy survive the disease. But some survivors develop lasting side effects of chemotherapy, including hearing loss caused by the drug cisplatin. Investigators were therefore interested in learning whether a lower dose of chemotherapy could be used to reduce side effects without affecting survival. In the study, children who received half of the normal amount of chemotherapy survived as long as children who received the full amount in previous trials, researchers reported in The Lancet on April 8. “We found that four cycles of chemotherapy—the standard amount—were not needed and that two cycles seemed to be enough,” said Howard Katzenstein, M.D., of Nemours Children’s Specialty Care and Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, FL, one of the investigators. The trial is part of a broader effort by the Children’s Oncology Group and other cancer researchers to evaluate treatment regimens for children with cancerExit Disclaimer that can reduce the risk of side effects without increasing the chances the disease will return.