Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Osaka Red Cross Hospital, Osaka, Japan.
The liver is the major organ for the metabolism of protein, fat and carbohydrate. A nutritional approach is required in the treatment of cirrhosis, which is frequently complicated with protein-energy malnutrition. Several advanced treatment approaches for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have been established in the past decade. HCC is often complicated by cirrhosis, so treatment of the underlying liver diseases is also necessary to improve the prognosis. Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) granules were developed originally for the treatment of hypoalbuminemia associated with decompensated cirrhosis. However, subsequent studies found various other pharmacological actions of this agent. We review the clinical significance of therapy using BCAA granules in patients receiving different treatment approaches for cirrhosis and HCC based on the published work as well as our own data.