Investigational New Drugs

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1066–1070 | Cite as

Opioid growth factor (OGF) for hepatoblastoma: a novel non-toxic treatment

  • Moshe Rogosnitzky
  • Milton J. Finegold
  • Patricia J. McLaughlin
  • Ian S. Zagon


Hepatoblastoma is the most common liver malignancy in children, typically diagnosed before age 2. The survival rate for hepatoblastoma has increased dramatically in the last 30 years, but the typical chemotherapeutic agents used for treatment are associated with significant toxicity. In this report, the authors present two cases of hepatoblastoma treated with surgical resection and a novel biotherapeutic regimen that included opioid growth factor (OGF). Case #1 is an infant diagnosed with a large mass on prenatal ultrasound. After subsequent diagnosis of hepatoblastoma, she was treated with one course of neoadjuvant chemotherapy at approximately 1 week of age. Following significant complications from the chemotherapy (neutropenic fever, pneumonia and sepsis), the patient’s parents declined further chemotherapy, and the infant was treated with surgical resection and opioid growth factor (OGF)/low dose naltrexone (LDN). She is currently at close to 10 years disease–free survival. Case #2 is a child diagnosed with a liver mass on ultrasound at 20 months of age, later biopsy-proven to represent hepatoblastoma. Due to existing co-morbidities including autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease and hypertension, and indications from the biopsy that the tumor might be insensitive to chemotherapy, the parents elected not to proceed with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The patient was treated with surgical resection and OGF/LDN, and is currently at more than 5 years disease-free survival. This case series highlights the need for less toxic treatment options than conventional chemotherapy. Modulation of the OGF-OGF receptor axis represents a promising safe and therapeutic avenue for effective treatment of hepatoblastoma.


Hepatoblastoma Opioid growth factor Toxicity Naltrexone LDN Disease-free survival 



The authors would like to thank Margaret McKernan, MD for assistance in manuscript preparation.

Conflicts of interest

I.S. Zagon and P.J. McLaughlin hold a patent on the use of OGF in gastrointestinal cancer treatment.

Ethical standards

All treatments described in the report complied with the current laws of Israel and the United States.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moshe Rogosnitzky
    • 1
  • Milton J. Finegold
    • 2
  • Patricia J. McLaughlin
    • 3
  • Ian S. Zagon
    • 3
  1. 1.MedInsight Research InstituteTelz StoneIsrael
  2. 2.Department of PathologyTexas Children’s Cancer Center at Baylor CollegeHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Neural & Behavioral ScienceThe Pennsylvania State University, College of MedicineHersheyUSA

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