Purpose: Brivanib is a selective dual inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor and fibroblast growth factor receptors implicated in tumorigenesis and angiogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). An unmet medical need persists for patients with HCC whose tumors do not respond to sorafenib or who cannot tolerate it. This multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial assessed brivanib in patients with HCC who had been treated with sorafenib.
Patients and methods: In all, 395 patients with advanced HCC who progressed on/after or were intolerant to sorafenib were randomly assigned (2:1) to receive brivanib 800 mg orally once per day plus best supportive care (BSC) or placebo plus BSC. The primary end point was overall survival (OS). Secondary end points included time to progression (TTP), objective response rate (ORR), and disease control rate based on modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (mRECIST) and safety.
Results: Median OS was 9.4 months for brivanib and 8.2 months for placebo (hazard ratio [HR], 0.89; 95.8% CI, 0.69 to 1.15; P = .3307). Adjusting treatment effect for baseline prognostic factors yielded an OS HR of 0.81 (95% CI, 0.63 to 1.04; P = .1044). Exploratory analyses showed a median time to progression of 4.2 months for brivanib and 2.7 months for placebo (HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.42 to 0.76; P < .001), and an mRECIST ORR of 10% for brivanib and 2% for placebo (odds ratio, 5.72). Study discontinuation due to treatment-related adverse events (AEs) occurred in 61 brivanib patients (23%) and nine placebo patients (7%). The most frequent treatment-related grade 3 to 4 AEs for brivanib included hypertension (17%), fatigue (13%), hyponatremia (11%), and decreased appetite (10%).
Conclusion: In patients with HCC who had been treated with sorafenib, brivanib did not significantly improve OS. The observed benefit in the secondary outcomes of TTP and ORR warrants further investigation.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00825955.