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Keywords:

  • hepatocellular cancer;
  • erlotinib;
  • bevacizumab;
  • vascular endothelial growth factor;
  • epidermal growth factor receptor

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are rational targets for therapy in hepatocellular cancer (HCC).

METHODS:

Patients with histologically proven HCC and not amenable to curative or liver directed therapy were included in this 2-stage phase 2 trial. Eligibility included an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) of 0 or 1 and Child's Pugh score of A or B, and 1 prior systemic therapy. Patients received erlotinib 150 mg daily and bevacizumab 10 mg/kg on days 1 and 15 every 28 days. Objective tumor response was the primary end point.

RESULTS:

Twenty-seven patients with advanced HCC (median age, 60 years) were enrolled in this multi-institutional study. The proportion of patients with Child's A classification was 74%. One patient had a confirmed partial response and 11 (48%) achieved stable disease. Median time to disease progression was 3.0 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8-7.1). Median survival time was 9.5 months (95% CI, 7.1-17.1). Grade 3 toxicities included rash, hypertension, fatigue, and diarrhea.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this trial, erlotinib combined with bevacizumab had minimal activity in patients with advanced HCC based on objective response and progression-free survival. The role of targeting EGFR and VEGF in HCC needs further evaluation in molecularly selected patients. Cancer 2012. © 2011 American Cancer Society.