Current and future perspective on targeted agents and immunotherapies in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Published on Mar 1, 2021in Minerva gastroenterologica e dietologica3.072
· DOI :10.23736/S2724-5985.20.02775-0
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. HCC occurs predominantly in patients with underlying chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, and it presents a poor prognosis in advanced stage. Since its approval, for the following 10 years, sorafenib remained the only systemic agent with proven clinical efficacy for patients with advanced HCC. Recently, more drugs have been studied and several advances in first‑line and second‑line treatment options should yield significant improvements in survival. Lenvatinib, another tyrosine‑kinase inhibitor, was found to be non-inferior to sorafenib in terms of overall survival (OS), with significantly better progression-free survival and objective response rate (ORR). The tyrosinekinase inhibitors, regorafenib and cabozantinib, were shown to significantly improve survival in the second‑line setting after sorafenib failure. Ramucirumab, a VEGF inhibitor, can also improve survival in the second‑line setting among patients with AFP≥400 ng/dL. Moreover, good efficacy was seen in phase I/II trials of immune checkpoint inhibitors as monotherapy. Ongoing trials are evaluating combination immune checkpoint inhibitor and tyrosine‑kinase inhibitors or VEGF inhibitors for increasing overall survival in this patient population with advanced HCC.