, Volume 135, Issue 4, pp 617-625
Date: 10 Oct 2008

Practical efficacy of sorafenib monotherapy for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma patients in a Hepatitis B virus-endemic area

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This study was conducted to assess the efficacy and safety of sorafenib monotherapy in clinical practice settings for Korean patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) related primarily to HBV infection.


Medical records of 57 consecutive patients with unresectable or metastatic HCC treated with 400 mg bid sorafenib at the National Cancer Center, Korea between June 2007 and March 2008, were retrospectively reviewed.


The median patient age was 55 years (range, 28–76 years), and all patients had performance status 0–2 and Child–Pugh class A or B disease. HCC was etiologically related to HBV in 79.0% of patients. Eleven patients (19.3%) had modified UICC stage III tumors, 11 (19.3%) had stage IVa, and 35 (61.4%) had stage IVb. Following sorafenib monotherapy, 3 patients (5.3%) achieved a partial response and 18 (35.1%) achieved stable disease, with a disease control rate of 40.4%. The median times to progression (TTP) was 9.1 weeks (95% CI 3.4–14.8 weeks). Multivariate analyses showed that serum alpha-fetoprotein (α-FP) ≥400 ng/mL (HR, 2.810; = 0.023) and the presence of massive intrahepatic tumors (HR, 7.633; = 0.033) were independent predictors of shorter TTP. The most common grade 3/4 adverse events were hand-foot syndrome (8.8%), diarrhea (7.0%), and skin rash (7.0%). Exacerbation of underlying chronic hepatitis B was not found.


Sorafenib monotherapy showed better outcomes with tolerable toxicity in Korean advanced HCC patients, who had intrahepatic nodular tumors and/or metastatic tumors, coupled with low levels of serum α-FP.