The use of single-agent sorafenib in the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma patients with underlying Child-Pugh B liver cirrhosis

A retrospective analysis of efficacy, safety, and survival benefits


  • These data were previously presented in part at the 47th Annual American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting; June 3 to 7, 2011; Chicago, Ill, USA (abstract 4082).

  • These two authors are co-first authors.



This study explored the efficacy, tolerability, and survival benefits of using sorafenib in patients with Child-Pugh class B (CPB) cirrhosis.


Patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma who were treated with sorafenib at Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, China, were analyzed retrospectively. Treatment outcomes were analyzed according to their respective Child-Pugh status. Patients with CPB disease were further divided into CPB7 (those with a score of 7) and CPB8-9 (a score of 8 or 9) subgroups.


The baseline demographic parameters were comparable between 108 patients with Child-Pugh class A (CPA) disease and 64 CPB patients. Both clinical benefit rate (21.3% vs 32.4% vs 14.8%; P = .23) and progression-free survival (median: 3.2 months vs 3.2 months vs 2.3 months; P = .26) were similar among CPA, CPB7, and CPB8-9 groups, respectively. The overall survival was different among these groups (P = .002) and showed a trend toward worse outcome in CPB patients: the median was 6.1, 5.4, and 2.7 months among CPA, CPB7, and CPB8-9 patients, respectively. The commonest grade 3/4 adverse events were hand-foot syndrome (13.5%), diarrhea (9.9%), and rash (7.0%). Grade 3/4 leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and anemia occurred in 2.9%, 5.3%, and 8.8% of the patients, respectively. Overall, the 3 groups of patients experienced similar incidence of most of these adverse events. Nonetheless, CPB patients experienced more anemia (P = .01), gastrointestinal bleeding (P = .02), and hepatic encephalopathy (P = .02).


CPA and CPB patients tolerated sorafenib similarly and derived similar clinical and progression-free survival benefit. Among CPB patients, most benefits were observed in patients with a score of 7. Nevertheless, CPB patients were more susceptible to developing cirrhotic complications, and thus more vigilant surveillance is needed. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.