, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 199-205
Date: 24 Jun 2008

The impact of new data in the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma

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Abstract

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer worldwide, causing 500,000 deaths yearly. The risk factors mostly responsible for the rising incidence of HCC in the Western hemisphere are hepatitis C, alcoholic cirrhosis, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which most commonly leads to HCC in the setting of cirrhosis. Over the past 30 years, several chemotherapeutic single agents and combinations have been tested in HCC, yet none have demonstrated any improvement in survival. Recently, the multitargeted anti-angiogenic and Raf kinase inhibitor sorafenib has shown a survival advantage as a single agent and improved outcomes in combination with doxorubicin. Other novel agents have also shown intriguing outcomes as single agents (sunitinib) or in combination (bevacizumab and erlotinib). The encouraging results and clinical information gathered in recent trials are generating important clinical questions regarding which patients to treat, how to accommodate concurrent cirrhosis, and which parameters to use to monitor efficacy and the potential benefit from therapy.