Introduction: Sorafenib is an unselective inhibitor of multiple kinases which has demonstrated clinical advantage in renal cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma. It inhibits tumor proliferation by targeting receptor accessory factor (Raf) kinase isoforms, inhibiting receptor tyrosine kinases of a variety of pro-angiogenic factors and of several receptor tyrosine kinases involved in neovascularization and tumor development.
Areas covered: This review offers an explanation of the mechanism of action and of the pharmacokinetics of sorafenib, and gives readers a complete overview of Phase I and II studies on the clinical efficacy, tolerability and safety of this agent in the setting of ovarian cancer (OC) treatment.
Expert opinion: The available results from the studies which investigated the use of sorafenib for OC treatment demonstrated poor clinical benefit either as single agent or in combination therapy. The most promising results have been achieved combining sorafenib with bevacizumab, although overlapping and cumulative toxicities should be taken in consideration. Research should focus its attention to the development of reliable predictive biomarkers to assess response and direct therapy in order to allow patient selection and improving treatment schedules maximizing the clinical benefit and simultaneously minimizing the toxicity related to the chemotherapy. Further studies are needed to evaluate the role of sorafenib in the primary treatment of OC.