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Clinical features associated with radiological response to sorafenib in unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma: a large multicenter study in Japan



Background & Aims

There have been no established predictive factors of responders to sorafenib in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study aimed to investigate the factors predicting a good response to sorafenib in Japanese patients with HCC.


A total of 465 patients with unresectable HCC in the Japanese Red Cross Liver Study Group were treated with sorafenib between January 2008 and August 2013, and 316 patients with sufficient clinical data were analysed. To determine the factors predicting a good response, the relationships between radiological response and the following clinicopathological factors were analysed: age, gender, performance status, liver function, tumour status and decrease in serum alpha-foetoprotein (AFP) level after 1 month.


This study included 259 males and 57 females with a median age of 70 years (range, 37–90 years), of which 191 (60.4%) were classified as Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage C, and 271 (85.8%) had Child-Pugh class A liver function. The median overall survival time was 307 days and progression-free survival time was 109 days. According to the modified Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumours, four patients achieved a complete response, 51 achieved a partial response, 136 had stable disease and 125 had progressive disease. Multivariate analysis identified female gender (= 0.003) and decreased serum AFP level after 1 month (= 0.042) as independent predictors of a complete or partial response.


Our results suggest female gender and a decrease in serum AFP level are independent predictors of good response to sorafenib.

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