Phase II study of concurrent transarterial chemoembolization and sorafenib in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma

J Hepatol. 2012 Jun;56(6):1336-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2012.01.006. Epub 2012 Feb 4.


Background & aims: Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is an important palliative treatment for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but TACE-induced ischemic injury can upregulate angiogenic factors and is associated with poor prognosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of concurrent conventional TACE and sorafenib in patients with unresectable HCC.

Methods: The primary objectives of this prospective, single-arm, phase II study were to evaluate safety and time to progression (TTP). Sorafenib was given 3 days after TACE and was administered for up to 24 weeks. Repeated TACE was performed on demand. Tumor response was assessed every 8 weeks.

Results: Fifty patients were treated and followed from July 2009 to May 2011. All patients were in Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage B (82%) or C (18%). The median time of follow-up was 14.9 months and a median of 1 TACE session was given (range, 1-4). The median dose intensity of sorafenib was 68.7% (range, 37.3-100) of 800 mg daily. The most common reasons for dose reduction were hand-foot syndrome and thrombocytopenia. Thirty patients completed the study and 17 patients discontinued sorafenib due to disease progression. The overall median TTP was 7.1 months (95% confidence interval (CI), 4.8-7.5 months): 7.3 months in BCLC stage B; 5.0 months in BCLC stage C. The 6-month progression-free survival rate was 52% (95% CI, 37.3-66.1).

Conclusions: Concurrent treatment of unresectable HCC with conventional TACE and sorafenib demonstrates a manageable safety profile and a possibility of promising efficacy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzenesulfonates / adverse effects
  • Benzenesulfonates / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic / adverse effects
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Niacinamide / analogs & derivatives
  • Phenylurea Compounds
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pyridines / adverse effects
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use*
  • Sorafenib


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzenesulfonates
  • Phenylurea Compounds
  • Pyridines
  • Niacinamide
  • Sorafenib