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Systemic therapy for intermediate and advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: Sorafenib and beyond.

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Published:1st Jul 2018
Author: Raoul JL, Kudo M, Finn RS, Edeline J, Reig M, Galle PR.
Availability: Free full text
Ref.:Cancer Treat Rev. 2018;68:16-24.

The hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treatment landscape changed a decade ago, with sorafenib demonstrating survival benefit in the first-line setting and becoming the first systemic therapy to be approved for HCC. More recently, regorafenib and nivolumab have received approval in the second-line setting after sorafenib, with further positive phase 3 studies emerging in the first line (lenvatinib non-inferior to sorafenib) and second line versus placebo (cabozantinib and ramucirumab).

A key recommendation in the management of patients receiving sorafenib is to promote close communication between the patient and the physician so that adverse events (AEs) are detected early and severe AEs can be prevented. Sorafenib-related AEs have been identified as clinical biomarkers for sorafenib efficacy. Healthcare professionals have become more efficient in managing AEs, identifying patients who are likely to benefit from treatment, and assessing response to treatment, resulting in a trend towards increased overall survival in the sorafenib arms of clinical studies. The rapidly changing treatment landscape due to the emergence of new treatment options (sorafenib and lenvatinib equally effective in first line; regorafenib, cabozantinib, and ramucirumab showing OS benefit in second line with nivolumab approved by the FDA based on response rate) underscores the importance of re-assessing the role of the first approved systemic agent in HCC, sorafenib.


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