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Keywords:

  • hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • sorafenib;
  • transarterial chemoembolization;
  • combination therapy;
  • Phase II

Abstract

Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) represents a first-line noncurative therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Sorafenib, a multikinase inhibitor, has been shown to be effective and safe monotherapy in patients with advanced HCC and the current study reports the interim results of a prospective Phase II, open label, trial investigating the safety and efficacy of the combination of sorafenib and conventional TACE in patients from the Asia-Pacific region with intermediate HCC. Patients with histologically or clinically diagnosed HCC were treated with conventional TACE followed by sorafenib 4 to 7 days later. TACE was performed by selective transarterial chemotherapy in the vessels feeding the tumor with an emulsion of lipiodol (5–20 ml) and doxorubicin (30–60 mg) followed by embolization with absorbable particles (gel foam). TACE/sorafenib cycles were repeated every 6–8 weeks. Primary objectives were to evaluate the safety and tolerability, in addition to the efficacy of TACE combined with sorafenib for HCC. A total of 147 patients were included in the intention-to-treat analysis and received at least one dose of sorafenib. Gastrointestinal AEs were reported by 62.6% of patients while 57.8% reported skin AEs although most were mild to moderate. The mean number of cycles undertaken was 2.1 and 63.3% of patients achieved either partial response or stable disease. Clinically, the disease control rate was 91.2% while the overall response rate was calculated as 52.4%. Our study shows that concurrent sorafenib and TACE therapy is safe and effective with no unexpected side effects.