Sorafenib in combination with transarterial chemoembolization improves the survival of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma: A propensity score matching study
- Conflict of interest: None.
Correspondence to: Guo Hong HAN, Department of Digestive Interventional Radiology, Xijing Hospital of Digestive Diseases, Fourth Military Medical University, 15 West Changle Road, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710032, China. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This prospective non-randomized controlled trial aimed to compare the efficacy of sorafenib in combination with transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) vs TACE alone for the treatment of patients with unresectable intermediate or advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.
A total of 304 patients were enrolled, in which 82 received concurrent sorafenib (400 mg orally twice daily, initiated within 14 days after TACE), and these patients were matched with 164 patients who received TACE alone at a 1:2 ratio using propensity score matching to minimize selection bias. The response to treatment, time-to-progression (TTP), overall survival (OS) as well as adverse events were compared between the two groups.
During a median follow-up period of 21.4 weeks (range 0.5–103 weeks), the addition of sorafenib prolonged TTP (6.3 vs 4.3 months; hazard ratio [HR] 0.60, 95% CI 0.422–0.853, P = 0.004) and median survival (7.5 vs 5.1 months; HR 0.61, 95% CI 0.423–0.884, P = 0.009) compared with TACE alone. Significant prognostic factors for OS by multivariate analysis included the use of sorafenib, Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage, metastasis/vascular invasion and Child-Pugh score.
The combined use of sorafenib and TACE was generally well tolerated and significantly improved OS and TTP compared with TACE alone in patients with intermediate or advanced HCC. Further studies are warranted to confirm the safety and efficacy of this combination therapy.